Chapter Eleven


"Thank you for agreeing to have lunch with me on such short notice," Audrey said as she and her dear, old friend, Dr. Gail Baldwin, took a seat at The Outback.

"You don't have to thank me. We're friends. You know, I'm always willing to help," replied Gail. Her years as a psychiatrist gave her insight into human behavior. Even though Audrey was trying to conceal it, Gail knew that she was deeply troubled.

"How's Elizabeth?" Gail asked, taking a sip of her water.

"She's doing…better," Audrey replied. "She's going to need a little more time, but she has Lucky. He's been helping her quite a bit."

"How do you feel about that?"

"About Lucky? Oh, I feel fine about it. I'm glad he's been there for her," she answered.

Even after the waiter came and took their order, Audrey remained noncommittal. She'd invited Gail to lunch to get her opinion regarding Tommy. And now, as they sat there, Audrey found that she didn't know where to begin.

"I gather you didn't invite me here to discuss Elizabeth. Is everything okay with you?"

"I apologize, Gail. I did invite you here for your professional opinion, and now, I haven't the faintest idea of where to begin."

"Begin at the beginning. And don't even think about the time. I have the entire afternoon free."


Tommy was oblivious to the traffic along the waterfront. His attention was focused at the present task at hand.

Slowly, he thumbed through the white pages of the massive telephone book. His eyes were having a difficult time reading the print. He couldn’t remember the last time he'd read in the light of day.

There, he found it. Ward, Justus…555-7787. He couldn’t believe it was that easy. Justus was still here in Port Charles. He wouldn't have to do it alone. He would have help.


Watching the waves crash against the rocks, reminded Dawn of her own emotions. One minute she was rolling along peacefully and then wham! She felt as if she'd crashed against a brick wall. Hard. Kind of like last night on the launch to Wyndemere. In an instant, she went from laughter to almost tears.

She had always been able to keep her emotions in check. Even as a child, she rarely allowed her real feelings to show. Her turbulent relationship with her father had been her training ground. If you don’t show your true emotions, it won’t hurt as much, she’d taught herself. And now, in less than twenty-four hours, she’d revealed more to this handsome, young stranger, than she had to her closest relatives.

What was it about him that caused her to lose control, she asked herself. Sneaking a peek at him, Dawn saw that Nikolas was also staring at the crashing waves, listening as the sea gulls cried. What was he thinking of? What did the crashing waves symbolize for him? Did he sometimes feel as sad, alone and confused as she did?

Nikolas heard her sigh and looked at her. Her eyes were focused on the water, but earlier he could feel her eyes on him. He wondered what happened at her home that made her run away.

She was so much more than she seemed on the surface, he thought. Ever since they’d been on the shore, she’d been so quiet. Completely different than the girl he picked up on the side of the road. The little Miss Know-It-All had become retrospective. She wanted to come out here to talk, and so far she hadn’t said a word. He was content to wait until she was ready.

"Have you ever run away from home?" she asked softly, her eyes still watching the rolling waves.

"Quite a few times," he answered.

"Did it solve anything? Was it better when you went back?"

"Not really."

"Mm…I didn't think it would," she said quietly to herself.

Nikolas heard her but decided to remain quiet. He began to watch the waves, as well. The waves reminded him of his relationship with his mother. Always rolling but never really going anywhere. He laughed humorlessly to himself.

Nikolas's laughter broke Dawn from her reverie.

"When I left, I never intended to go back," she said.

"Have you changed your mind?"

"Nope," she said. "I can't go back. I'd die if I went back there."

"What do you plan to do?" he asked.

"I don't know," she sighed. "When I slammed out, the only thing that mattered to me was getting out of there. Going far, far away. Then, I decided to come to Port Charles. Dara was here. We could talk and then maybe she'd let me hang with her for awhile."

"Why did you change your mind about Dara? Last night, you seemed adamant about not going to her."

"I realized she'd call him. And he'd coming charging down here and take me away. Whether I wanted to go or not," she said.

"You and your father don't have much of a relationship," he stated.

"Nope. We've never really had," she said, turning to face him, with unshed tears in her eyes. "It's funny even when I was little, I knew he didn't like or want me. Isn't that weird? A parent not wanting their own flesh and blood."

Nikolas didn't answer. He was deep in thought, thinking about his own relationship with his mother. He knew exactly what she meant. Funny, he had never thought of it as weird before, but he guessed it was.

Missing Nikolas's reaction, Dawn rose to stand near the water's edge. She had removed her shoes long ago and her feet sank into the wet sand. She swallowed hard, refusing to give in to the tears, and wrapped her arms around herself.

She was so intent on keeping the tears at bay that she didn’t notice Nikolas behind her until she felt his arms around her shoulders. She looked into his eyes and knew immediately that he understood. Without warning or her consent, the tears began to stream down her face.

Nikolas pulled her into the circle of his arms. And, she wrapped her arms around him. Resting her head against his chest, she finally allowed herself to give in to her emotions.

Chapter Twelve