Chapter Eighteen

"How did it go?"

"Fine," Stefan answered. He poured himself a brandy and sat at the table across from his sister.

"So, where's Nikolas?" Alexis asked, placing her notes into her leather briefcase.

"He decided to stay with her," he replied, reaching out a hand to take her notes.

Alexis snatched her notes from his hand and said, "Are you telling me that you allowed Nikolas to stay the night with a young lady without a chaperone?"

"Alexis, please," he said, rising from his chair. "I trust Nikolas. He is a proper gentlemen."

"Humpfh!" Alexis muttered as she stood to leave. "There is no such thing as a proper gentlemen, at the age of seventeen, who's allowed to spend the night with a pretty girl his own age."

"Whatever do you mean? Nikolas is a respectable young man. I oversaw his upbringing. He is beyond reproach," Stefan replied indignantly.

"Ever heard of raging hormones, Stefan?"

In reply, he refreshed his brandy.

"I seem to recall a certain someone who's raging hormones sent him into a tailspin. The young lady's name was Zena, I believe," Alexis continued with a sly grin.

"What Zena and I shared…" Stefan lost his train of thought as he smiled at the bittersweet memory.

"What the two of you shared was most likely the same as what Nikolas and Dara's younger sister are sharing as we speak," she continued for him. "Good-night, brother dear."

Alexis left Stefan alone to ponder her parting comment. True, Nikolas and the young Miss Jensen seemed mildly attracted to one another, but surely his nephew wouldn't indulge the temptation. Surely not, he thought.


"You've got be kidding," Dawn said, trying with all her might to hold the giggles inside.

"No, I'm not," Nikolas replied with a straight face. "Uncle taught me how to surf when I was seven."

"No way!" she blurted as the image of Stefan, dressed in black, riding the waves, came to her mind. Just the thought caused her to lose herself in a fit of giggles.


Dawn's laughter was contagious and Nikolas found himself succumbing, as well.

"Dressed in black?!?" she asked, barely able to get the words out, as the tears were now pouring down her face.

Just the thought of Stefan, dressed in his usual attire, surfing rendered Nikolas speechless with laughter.

They laughed for several more minutes until they weren't able to laugh anymore. They sat inches apart, breathing hard and spent from the exertion of their shared mirth.

Soon the atmosphere in the room became electrically charged. Both were fully aware of the situation. They were attracted to each other and they were alone. The setting was extremely romantic. What could one little kiss hurt, they both thought to themselves. Plenty was the silent answer from both parties.

Always one for action, Dawn rose from her seated position on the floor and went to the stereo.

"The Kenny G was nice," she replied, looking at the CD case. 'Songbird' was one of her favorites.

"He's nice. I'm sorry we didn't have any KISS available," Nikolas replied, rising. He stood where he was for the moment, content to gaze at her from afar.

"That's okay," she replied. "this time. Kenny has been serenading us for quite a while now. Let's see what the PC radio stations have to offer."

"Okay," Nikolas moved to sofa. Resting on his knees, he continued to watch her.

The stereo was one she had never seen before. So many buttons to choose from. Eeny meeny miney mo, she thought to herself. She found the button that controlled the CD player, but the dial for the radio continued to hide itself from her. Nikolas stifled a laugh as he watched her fumble with the stereo, getting more and more irritated by the minute.

"Stupid stereo," she muttered to herself.

Not able to take it anymore, Nikolas decided to help her. Silently, he moved so that he was directly behind her. She was so intent on the stereo that she didn't sense him there.

"May I?" he asked.

Taking her hand, he placed it on the correct dial. Together they turned on the radio and found a station. The slow, sensual sounds of Mariah Carey filled the room.

"Dance with me," she softly said.

Nikolas turned and in a flash she was in her arms as they swayed to the music which struck a chord in both of their hearts.

'I'd give my all
To have just one more night with you'

Dawn's head rested against his shoulder as he rested his against hers.

'I'd risk my life
To feel your body next to mine'

Nikolas released her hand to pull her body closer to his. One hand rested on her waist as the other began to gently caress her back. In turn, Dawn's hands began to lightly grasp his shoulders and down further to caress the broad expanse of his back.

'Cause I can't go on
Living in the memory of our song'

Their bodies moved to the sensual music as the words began to take on another meaning for them.

'I'd give my all
For your love tonight'

"Mm," he moaned as she trailed tiny kisses on his neck. Her lips instinctively drawn to the pulse that beat rapidly there. His hands continued to caress her, moving lower and lower still to rest intimately on her firm behind.

"Mm," she moaned as he took her ear into his mouth. She pressed herself closer to his hard, muscular frame. Her fingers lost themselves in the silkiness of his dark, brown hair.

Still swaying to the dying sounds of the song, his mouth met hers gently. As the kiss deepened, his tongue moving slowly on hers, teasing and tantalizing her, neither of them thought of tomorrow and what it may bring.

'Give my all for your love


Simone had done all she could. The newcomer hadn't regained consciousness and there was nothing she could do. For all she knew, they could be on their way back. She'd better get out of there, ASAP, she thought.

Simone placed the bucket of water back in the corner and was tidying up what best she could when she heard the footsteps right outside the door.

Oh, damn, she thought. How could she have been so careless? She prayed the footsteps would continue on past, but to her dismay they stopped right outside the room. There was nothing she could do. She'd take her punishment the same as she always had. Quietly and with dignity.

"Simone," the voice whispered. "What are you doing?"

Simone sighed with relief when she recognized the voice of friend instead of foe. She had nothing to fear. At least, not right now.

"Gina Cates," she whispered, "you almost gave me a heart attack!"

"It would serve you right," Gina whispered back, fiercely as she entered the room. "You know what they'd do to you if they found you in here."

"Well? What are you doing here?"

"They told me to check on you. I heard there was a newcomer, so I knew you'd be here."

Gina stooped down to check the newcomer. She saw that Simone had done an expert job of cleaning the wounds, but then again, Gina had learned everything she knew about medicine from Simone. Her stint at General Hospital was nothing compared to the hands on training she'd received since she'd been there.

She rose and took a good look at her dear friend. Simone was sick and had been for some time, but the look on her face had nothing to do with her illness or worry for her missing son.

"What is it?" Gina asked, placing a comforting hand on her friend. "You know who this is, don’t you?"

Simone nodded in response too emotional to speak. Never in a million years did she think the young cousin of her ex-boyfriend would be sent to hell.

"Keesha. Keesha Ward," she quietly whispered.

Chapter Nineteen