Chapter Seventeen

The short summer storm left behind a clean, refreshing breeze. The sidewalks had dried and only a few puddles survived as evidence to the quick rainfall.

But Dara was unaware of nature's beauty. She was too deep in thought, too angry. She'd asked Marcus to see that her mother returned to her apartment safely while she came to the docks to think. She thought the fresh air would do her some good, but so far nothing. She was still furious beyond words.

To the depths of her soul, she believed that Alexis was lying about Dawn. She couldn't explain it to anyone, but she knew that Dawn had been there. She knew it the second Alex told her that Dawn had been seen with Nikolas.

How dare they use her baby sister against her, Dara thought. Did they really think she'd let them get one over on her again? Oh, Stefan Cassadine was going down for this one, she promised. Kidnapping a young teenager… She'd see him put under a jail if not shipped back to Greece.

"Mind if I sit down?"

Dara looked up and saw Alex gazing down at her. Her first thought was to send him away, but something wouldn’t let her. She slid over on the bench, silently giving him permission to join her.

"Still spitting nails?" he asked, quietly.

"Why, Alex? Why use an innocent young girl?" she questioned, looking intently into his warm, brown eyes.

"I don't know that they are using her. There was no evidence that she'd even been there."

"But you said there was an eye witness who saw her get into Nikolas' Jaguar," she replied.

"I know, but I'm not sure how reliable he is," he answered.

"He was reliable enough for you to race off to Wyndemere," she muttered.

"It was a lead. I'd race off anywhere to find your sister and bring her back home to you…and your family," he replied.

"I know you would. I apologize for being such a witch earlier, but I was counting on her to be there. Then, this awful waiting would be over," she sighed.

Alex reached for her hand and held it gently. "You don't have to apologize to me. I understand what you're going through."

"Thanks," she smiled. "I should be getting back. My father should be home by now. He and I are going to have a long talk about some things."

They stood. On impulse, Alex pulled Dara into his arms and gave her a quick hug. Upon his release, she gave his hand a quick squeeze and walked away.


Simone listened as she heard the heavy footsteps pound away. She wanted to check on the newcomer, but she was afraid of what would happen if they returned. They could be truly heartless when crossed.

She contemplated for about two seconds longer and then made her decision. She was going to check on the newcomer. Her conscious wouldn’t allow her to do anything less.

She grasped the doorknob and gingerly turned it, hoping that it was still unlocked. It was. In their haste to initiate the newcomer, they had forgotten that she was there and neglected to lock her door.

Quiet as a mouse, Simone eased her door open and peered down the long, dank hallway. No one was there. She left her door cracked in case she had to make a quick return and she crept to where she thought the newcomer would be.

The newcomer was unconscious and sprawled face down on the floor. The dark hair was matted with blood from all the blows. The expensive clothing was now nothing more than expensive rags.

Simone checked the pulse. She found it. The newcomer was still alive, but she wasn't sure if that was something to be thankful for.

Simone wanted to turn the newcomer over. She wanted to be certain that the newcomer was who she thought it was, but she didn’t have the strength. So instead, she dragged the bucket of water which was always kept in the corner over to the body. With what little strength she had, she ripped a piece of the clothing and dipped into the water. As tenderly as she could, she tended to her new patient.


Feeling fresh from her shower, Dawn quickly toweled herself dry. She dumped the contents of her backpack on the huge queen-size bed and pondered over what to wear. The choice of underwear was a given, as she didn’t really have a choice anyway, she chuckled to herself.

Looking through her other meager clothing choices, she decided to wear her pajamas. The day was almost over and she would be sleeping soon, she reminded herself. She hoped that Nikolas wouldn't get the wrong idea. She shook her head and told herself to get a grip. He had always treated her with the utmost respect. He wouldn’t change just because they were all alone in a cabin, just the two of them. Or would he?

She gave herself another quick mental shake. Of course, he wouldn’t, she answered herself. Grabbing a scrunchy, she left the room and headed downstairs in sock covered feet.

When she came to the landing, she paused. The sight below took her breath away. The room was lit with what seemed like a thousand candles. The sweet sound of Kenny G drifted from the stereo. A plate of delicious delights were on the table. And Nickie…

He had showered, too. The blue t-shirt clung to his broad back and the blue shorts displayed his tan muscular thighs and legs. He sat sideways before the fireplace, so he was unaware of her entrance. He seemed deep in thought as he shifted the logs with the iron poker. He was absolutely beautiful, she thought.

Sensing her presence, Nikolas turned. They held each other's gaze for what seemed like an eternity until he broke the silence.

"Your dinner awaits," he smiled, gesturing towards the food on the table. He quickly placed the poker on the hearth and walked towards her. He held his hand out for her, and she quickly walked down the last few steps and gave him her hand.

Hand in hand, they made their way to the table. He had placed pillows in front of the table and he gestured for her to take a seat. He sat on his own pillow across from her.

"What's all this?" she softly asked. Some of the food she was positive that she had never seen before.

"This is dinner," he smiled. "I found this basket in the kitchen. Uncle must have brought it with him."

"That was nice of him," she said. She continued to look at the food. She wasn't sure where she should begin.

"Eat," he laughed. "It won't bite."

"Oh, hush!" she laughed. "There's so much. I don't know where to begin."

"How about I help you with that?"

He picked up a cracker and spread the pate on it. He then held it up to her mouth. His lips parted in anticipation as she opened her mouth to accept his offering.

"Mm," she said, as she chewed. The pate was delicious.

As her tongue flicked out to lick the crumbs from her lips, Nikolas swallowed hard. This is going to be one long night, he thought to himself.

Chapter Eighteen