Pretending…that was exactly what she was doing, Dawn realized. An interested smile was plastered on her face and when all eyes were on her, she made the appropriate noises, but inside… Inside, she fumed.
She didn't know for certain, but she had a pretty good idea that Robin had influenced Tiffany's seating arrangements for the band. Maybe Dawn was making more out of it than she should have, but having Lucky sitting so close to her, bothered her. Just as, she was sure, Robin had hoped. Damn that little wench!
And, Lucky! Was he brushing against her on purpose? Was it really necessary for his thigh to brush against hers? Was this his twisted way of forcing her to admit that she felt something when they had kissed? Didn't he realize that by admitting to anything, no matter how small, would betray her love and commitment to Nikolas, and she wouldn't do that? Not for anything.
As she moved away from him and leaned closer to the sofa's armrest, Lucky chose that moment to glance at her. She was pissed. He could feel it. The tension radiated from her and burned inside of him.
He shouldn't have said anything to her. How could he force her to admit to something that he didn't even fully understand himself? She was a friend, a damn good friend, and he might have ruined their friendship because of what? An admission that if voiced would possibly destroy more than either of them was willing to risk? And if she had admitted to feeling just a little something extra when his lips had brushed against hers, what then?
She was his brother's wife, for goodness' sakes! God, Lucky, he inwardly groaned. What the hell have you done?
Jordan nodded and smiled as Dawn answered Tiffany with a witty reply. She was good, but he knew that she was pissed. Hell, they all were, including him and Sly, who sat beside him. Robin's little maneuvering with the interview lady was written all over their seating arrangement. Obviously, their little talk with her the night before had fallen on deaf ears. Well, she had better listen up when they spoke to her again for the last time, Jordan decided. Sly shifted slightly on the sofa, breaking Jordan from his reverie. He glanced at his friend and became mildly interested in why he looked even more pissed than he had moments before. Sly could be sarcastic, obnoxious and annoying as hell, but he was rarely ever truly pissed. Jordan wondered what was up with him.
Back off Lucky, Sly thought as he watched his cousin move his arm behind Dawn's back. He wasn't touching her, but still, the gesture was too intimate for Sly's peace of mind. He knew what his cousin was just beginning to realize…that there was a small attraction between him and Dawn. Sly saw it in his eyes when Lucky entered the rehearsal room, and even though Jordan separated them, he could sense it now. Robin and her idea for that damn kiss had unleashed more than any of them had bargained for.
Sly chuckled softly as Jordan joked about their first rehearsal as a band, and after he was sure that the camera wasn't on them, he looked for Nikolas out of the corner of his eye. A small sense of relief coursed through him as he saw that none of the tension that filled the four on the sofa had drifted over to him. He was mildly comforted by the thought that the only disagreement that would need to be refereed would be between cousins and not brothers.
The interview ended and within seconds, the band dispersed. Keeping her eyes on Robin's petite form, Dawn followed her off the set and down the hallway to the Green Room. Fury and determination fueled her stride and she rounded the corner just in time to see Robin as she entered the room and closed the door behind her.
"Dawn, wait." Jordan placed a strong, but gentle hand on her shoulder. "Don’t go in there."
"Why not?" Dawn asked. Her voice was low and quiet, but her brown eyes displayed the rage she was just barely able to keep under control.
"Because it's not good for you-"
"Jordan, please." She moved to brush past him, but he grasped her shoulders and swung her around. "Let me go!"
"No!" He led her away from the door and spoke to her hushed tones. "You know I'm right. You have to think about your baby! You can't let her stupid little tricks get to you."
"I *am* thinking about my baby! That's why I've got to go in there!" She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Confident that she wasn't as agitated as she had been before, she opened her eyes and spoke again. "I know what you and Sly did last night, and I appreciate it. Really, I do, but Jordan… I can't let you guys fight this battle for me."
"This isn't a battle you have to fight! We told her if she did one more thing that she was out. That was it! You don't have to confront her. It's already taken care of. Just as soon as Sly comes, he and I
Dawn shook her head. "You and he won't do a damn thing! This is between Robin and me. I should have handled it a long time ago, but I ignored her because she and Nikky are friends. But, regardless of their friendship, she's crossed the line with me for the last time. Now, please, Jay, let me go in there and handle my business." Dawn looked at his hands which were still on her shoulders to add emphasis to her request.
Off her look, Jordan raised his hands from her shoulders and dropped them to his side. "I won't stop you from going in there, but I'm not leaving."
Dawn drew a long breath. Heaven save her from over-protective males, she thought. "You're not going in there with me. I love that you care enough to want to, but Jordan, this is personal."
"I know, and I don't intend to go in there with you." He placed an arm around her shoulders and led her back to the door. "I'll stand right here and wait for you…just in case you'll need a witness."
"Thanks, Jay," she said, placing her hand on the doorknob.
"No, problemo, baby girl. Just stay cool, and remember, no matter what she says, you have a baby to think about." He gave her a reassuring pat on her back. "But with that said, give it to her good!"
There was a light just at the end of the tunnel and Lucky could see it. In fact, he had almost reached it when the angry voice of his cousin stopped him. Dammit!
"What the hell did you think you were doing back there?" Sly asked. His anger was so great that the thought of closing the dressing room door behind him didn't even occur to him.
"Sly, leave it alone," Lucky warned. He sat down on one of the cushioned stools and began to remove his shoes and socks. He kept his eyes focused on his task because it was a lot easier than admitting to either of them that Sly was right.
"I'm not leaving it alone!" Shaking his finger at Lucky, Sly rallied on. "I told you to *think* about it, but dammit, I didn't tell you to act on it! She's married and she's pregnant. Geez, man! What the hell is wrong with you?"
"What the hell is wrong with me?! What's wrong with you?!" Lucky abruptly rose from the stool and in his rush, knocked it over. "You're carrying on like I felt her up or something! All I did was-"
"Was feel her up before a live audience!" Sly finished for him.
"That's bullsh-! I did *not* feel her up! When? How? Has Lark gotten you so sprung out that you don't know what feeling a girl looks like?" Lucky laughed derisively.
"Don’t bring Lark into this, man. At least, Lark is my girlfriend. It's not like she's my brother's wife!"
Lucky bit back a comment about Sly and Lark's relationship and instead answered with, "You don't have a brother."
"Yeah, but you DO! Why don’t you think about that? And, while you're at it, think about Elizabeth, too. She's been through too much crap to have to deal with this, too."
"Don't you worry about Elizabeth. I take care of her and whatever is going on between us is none of your business."
"You're right." Sly raised his hands in mock defense. "Elizabeth is your woman to take care of…just like Dawn is Nikolas'. So in the future, keep your hands off of her!"
"Hey, um…is everything okay in here?" Nikolas asked. He had been in the restroom when the band left the set. While walking down the hallway toward Dawn's dressing room, he'd heard raised voices and as he neared the open room, he recognized the voices as belonging to Sly and Lucky. Their words had been indistinguishable, but judging from the looks on their faces, he couldn't help but wonder what was being said.
"Yeah, Lucky!" Sly looked from Nikolas to his cousin and repeated the question. "Is everything okay in here?"
Dawn's decision to remain calm disappeared as soon as the door slammed shut behind her. "When are you going to get it? Will you ever grow up and stop playing these stupid games?"
"What are you talking about?" Robin asked. She looked up from her day planner to stare into Dawn's racing brown eyes. She had been expecting a visit from either Jordan or Sly, bearing more threats and accusations. She hadn't anticipated Dawn's wrath, but considering how the younger woman had been moving and squirming from Lucky's proximity, Robin should have known that a visit from her was imminent.
"Cut it out, Robin! Just stop it." Dawn moved away from the door to stand over her. "I've tried to be nice to you and give you the benefit of the doubt, but I'm not playing these games with you any more. That was it! Do you hear me!"
"I hear you," Robin said, slamming her planner shut. "The entire building hears you."
"Is that all you have to say?" Dawn asked, watching Robin as she placed her belongings back into her leather attaché case.
"What do you want me to say?" Robin asked her, folding her arms across her chest as she waited. "Do you want me to defend myself to you? Ask you what games I'm supposedly playing? Tell me, Dawn, what exactly do you want me to say?"
Dawn stared at her in stunned silence. "I don't believe this."
"What don't you believe? You came in here, slamming doors and making unfounded accusations and now, you're staring at me in silence-."
"Unfounded?!" Dawn's ability to speak returned, as did her determination to release the pent-up anger she'd held in check for far too long. "My accusations are right on target! Every since your boyfriend dumped you, you've been determined to get your hands on Nikolas-"
"Jason didn't dump me-"
"Whatever! He's with Keesha now and not you. It sure as hell sounds like he dumped you to me!"
"You don't know a damn thing about it!" Robin said, her calm veneer rapidly fading.
"I know enough to know that he's in love with Keesha and not you! That he's starting a new life with Keesha and his baby, and not *you*! The same goes for Nikolas, too, Robin! Nikolas' life is with me and OUR baby! So, if you're looking for a man, you'd best look again because Nikolas is taken!"
"Taken in by a tramp and a fool!" Robin countered.
"You heard me! You're a tramp and a fool! How long did you know Nikolas before you got knocked up? A day, two days, or was it three? And a fool…well, only a fool would think that sex could keep a man like Nikolas. He's cultured, sophisticated, intelligent, and you… You're a singer. When the sex gets old, do you really think that you'll be enough to keep him? Yeah, a tramp and a fool is the best description for you."
Dawn felt tears sprang to her eyes and quickly blinked them away. A light fluttering in her abdomen reminded her that she wasn't alone. Robin's words hurt, but they weren't true. They simply proved what Dawn had known all along. Placing her hand on the small bulge of her unborn child, she quietly said, "You're jealous. I knew it, but for you to say that to me… You're a spiteful and hateful person, Robin Scorpio. All of the things Nikolas ever said to me about you… He never knew the real you-"
"He knows me, and one day, he will thank me," Robin said with confidence.
"Thank you for…?" Dawn gestured with her hands. "For what, Robin? For breaking us up? For separating a father and a child? Do you really think you're woman enough to take Nikolas away from me? From his baby? Nikolas will never leave me. Never! And, do you want to know why?"
Robin turned her back and grabbed her case. Still fuming, she remained silent.
"You don't want to know why," Dawn said to Robin's retreating back, "but I'll tell you anyway. It's because despite my trampy foolishness, that man loves me. I'm talking about *real* love, Robin." Dawn's voice was quiet and soft as she continued. "His love, no…*our* love for each other is stronger than a stupid kiss for a music video, or the manipulations of a delusional mind. And, our love is as soft and sweet as our baby's first cry will be. Yeah, Robin, our love is real, and no matter what tricks you try or games you play, it always will be. Nikolas will always love me, tramp and fool that I am. And, I will always…*always* love him. And no matter what, we will always be together."
The three young men were silent as they stared at each other. The tension between the two cousins unnerved Nikolas and he came close to leaving them to their argument, but… Something stopped him. He asked again, "Is everything okay?"
Sly glared at Lucky for the last time and then he looked at Nikolas. With a shrug, he said, "Ask him. Jordan and I have to take care of a small, minor detail. Have you seen him?"
"He was standing in the hallway by the room with the food," Nikolas told him.
"Thanks." Sly left the room, closing the door behind him.
Nikolas frowned. Sly had left, but the tension remained. He watched Lucky as he finished changing clothes. Lucky was going out of his way to avoid looking at Nikolas and it made all kinds of questions come to his mind. "Were you and Sly fighting about me?"
"Why would we fight about you?" Lucky asked, pulling his sweater over his head. He busied himself with putting his costume on hangers as he continued to avoid facing his brother.
"That's what I would like to know," Nikolas told him. He moved further into room and sat down on the stool that Lucky had vacated. He watched him as he moved around the room, trying to find the answers in the younger man's actions.
"Well, staring at me won't tell you." Lucky said, as he placed his clothes into his garment bag.
"Well, why don't you tell me," Nikolas challenged him.
"There's nothing to tell. Sly and I were disagreeing about some stuff, you walked in and the rest you know."
"I don't think so," Nikolas said, resting his back against the vanity table behind him. He folded his arms across his chest and said, "You were arguing about a 'she', and then you stopped when I walked in. Who were you talking about? Laura? Or, Dawn?"
Lucky stiffened at the mention of both women and Nikolas was unable to determine which name caused the reaction. Nikolas asked again. "Which one? I can't see Sly getting too worked up over our mother, so that leaves my wife. Were you discussing Dawn? Is that it? Did something happen that I should know about?"
"Nah, man," Lucky shook his head and placed his garment bag over the back of a chair. He kicked his Nikes from under the chair and slid his feet inside. His eyes remained glued to his task.
"I don't believe you." Tired of talking to his brother's back, Nikolas rose and moved to stand directly in front of him. "This is about the kiss, right?"
Lucky shrugged and began fussing with his laces. He loosened the strings and retied the laces on both shoes.
"I'm okay with it," Nikolas told him. "We…she and I…discussed it, and we're fine. I trust her and I trust you. I understand why she didn't say anything. I'm too possessive when it comes to her, and she knows that. Besides, it was for a video. You were both acting and it's not like it will happen again."
"So, you and she made up?" Lucky asked, staring at the space just to the right of Nikolas' forehead.
"I guess you could call it that. We talked about it. She told me how she felt about it and I told her how I felt."
"So, you handled it like two mature adults in a committed relationship?" Lucky asked, a faint smile on his lips as he turned his eyes to his brother's.
"More like an old married couple with a lot of stamina." Nikolas laughed softly as Lucky rolled his eyes. He immediately sobered when he saw the sadness, which made Lucky's sky blue eyes a shade darker. "Did it cause problems for you and Liz?"
"Maybe." Lucky shrugged. He rolled his eyes again when Nikolas frowned. He stood and placed a hand on his older sibling's shoulder and gave him a brief, firm squeeze. "We'll be fine. Don't worry about us. You just make sure you take care of your…family. You've got one rambunctious female there, Cassadine. Watch out for her and keep on loving her the way you do. You'll be just fine."
"I know," Nikolas nodded and returned Lucky's display of affection with a squeeze to Lucky's shoulder, too. "You and Liz are good together. Follow your own advice and you'll work things out."
"Thanks, man," Lucky replied, softly.
"No, thanks needed. That's what brothers do, right? Reassure each other when the times get rough?" Nikolas asked, a little shy about using the term for the first time, but knowing that the time had come.
"I wouldn't know," Lucky told him. "I never had a brother before."
"You've always had one, but now, he's ready to be one. Are you ready for that?" Nikolas asked quietly.
"Yeah." Lucky said with a slow nod. "I'm ready."
Lucky smiled as he and Nikolas shared a brief embrace. Later, as he watched Nikolas wrap his arms around Dawn and lead her to his car, he decided then and there that no matter how confused he was about his feelings for his brother's wife, he would never betray him. Never.