Chapter Nineteen

Dara glanced at her bedside clock. She couldnít believe that her father still hadnít returned from his trip to 'get some air'. She rose from her bed and went to her window to gaze down on her neighborhood. Where could he be she asked herself.

By the time she returned from the docks, her mother was in the guestroom with the door firmly shut. Dara knew that Carrie was still reeling from their trip to Wyndemere. Both had decided to go there with open minds and not get their hopes up, but it didnít work out that way. Deep down inside, they wanted Dawn to be there more than anything. It hurt like hell when Alex and Marcus didnít find any trace of her.

She knew that Alex meant well, but he was wrong. Alexis Davis lied. She knew something about Dawn. Dara was certain of it. If only there was a way for Dara to get her to admit it.

The ringing of the telephone interrupted her thoughts. Please God, let it be good news, she thought.

"Hello?" she said into the receiver.

"Hello, Dara," came the distorted voice.

"What is this? What is this all about?" she asked, trying to remain calm.

"It is what it is, Dara," the voice replied.

"If you don't tell me what you want, I'm hanging up."

"Go ahead, but you might not like the consequences of that action," the voice said.

"What do you mean?" she asked as she kept her fear from consuming her.

"Think about it."

The sound of the dial tone echoed in her ear. She was terrified and had no idea what to do. She pushed the 'talk' button on her cordless and immediately dialed 7 digits. Mercifully, the phone was answered on the first ring.


"Alex? This is Dara. I hate to bother you again, but could you please come over?" she asked unable to keep the tremor from her voice. She had a horrible feeling that the mysterious phone call had something to do with her sister. She prayed she was wrong.

"Dara? What's wro-. Nevermind. I'll be right there. Just sit tight, okay?"

"Okay," she replied.


Tommy breathed in the night air. He couldn't believe how good the air felt on his face and in his lungs. And the sky. The sky was beautiful with all the stars shining brightly. He vaguely remembered his Grandpa Steve telling him there was a special star. What was it? Oh, why couldnít he remember?

Tommy jumped when he heard the screen door slam shut. When he saw Audrey coming toward him with a plate of cookies and milk, he relaxed. He slid over on the swing silently giving her permission to sit beside him.

Audrey was surprised and pleased with his offer. Not giving him a chance to change his mind, she quickly sat.

"Chocolate chip cookies and milk," she said, holding the plate out to him. Tommy accepted her offering and placed it on his lap. He set the glass of milk at this feet.

"I was hoping you'd come by for dinner," she continued. "Your cousin, Elizabeth, is here. I wanted you two to meet."

Tommy immediately bristled. "Elizabeth?"

"Yes, dear. Your Uncle Jeff's daughter. Your other cousin, Sarah, is in Europe. She's a year older than you. Don't you remember them?" she asked with concern.

"No," he answered with a troubled frown. "There's a lot of things I don't remember, Grandmother."

Audrey's discussion with Gail had enlightened her immensely. Gail told her to give him time and not to push. Gail also told her of things to look out for. She said that a sudden change in mood swings could signal all sorts of things and Audrey should pay close attention, just in case. Right now, Tommy's behavior told her that he needed her to be patient.

"Like what, sweetheart? Maybe I can help you," she offered.

Tommy looked up at the sky. He thought that it was stupid that not knowing the name of a star would bother him, but for some reason it did.

"That star," he said, pointing to the brightest star. "Grandpa Steve told me, but I can't remember."

"That's the North star," she answered with a smile.

"The North star," he repeated right before a single tear slipped down his cheek.

Audrey took the plate from him and gathered him in her arms. He went willingly. This was a breakthrough. Soon, he'll be ready to talk to me, she thought. Soon.


The soft sounds of Toni Braxton played in the background, but the two teenagers were oblivious to it. What began as a simple dance had been taken to the next level. Floor level. And another kind of dance had begun.

"Oh, Nickie," Dawn sighed as Nikolas trailed kisses along her neck. His tongue and his teeth wrecked havoc on her sensitive flesh. Her hands moved underneath his shirt and caressed his back, reveling in the hard muscles she encountered.

Nikolas moved over her and parted her legs. His shorts had risen in the exertion and his lightly hair-covered thighs brushed against her smooth thighs. His lower body moved to come into contact with hers as he leaned down to cover her mouth with his.

As she slipped her tongue between his lips, he was lost. His mouth opened and he gave in to her quest. He was lost in the moment as her tongue stroked his and tasted him. His hand moved down to caress her thigh, slowly pushing her loose pajama shorts up to the her hip. Instinctively, his hand pulled her thigh to his hip. With the new position of their lower bodies, they both became fully aware of what was going on and Dawn pulled away from the kiss.

"What's wrong?" Nikolas asked, his lips swollen from her passionate kisses. "Did I hurt you?"

"No," she whispered and subconsciously licked her lips.

Nikolas became mesmerized by the motion and moved in to kiss her again. Another hot, ardent kiss.

When they came up for air, they knew they had to make a decision.

"Nickie, I've never done this before," she replied shaken with passion.

"Neither have I," he answered, gazing into her soft, brown eyes.

Nikolas moved to a sitting position and Dawn followed suit.

"I want to, and I know you want to," she said with a shy smile.

Nikolas felt the heat rush to his face and knew that there was nothing he could do to stop it. Tenderly, she caressed his check as the blush grew.

"But we shouldn't, right?" he asked. He wanted to be with her more than he wanted to be with any girl, but he would never force himself on her.

"Right," she answered. She held both of his hands in hers. "I don't think it would be right if we did so soon. You know?"

"I know," he replied, lightly running his thumbs against her hand.

"You're not mad, are you? I didn't mean to lead you on or an-"

Nikolas stopped her words with a finger to her lips. He didn't want her to apologize. There was no need.

"Ssh," he whispered. He leaned his face towards hers and lightly brushed her lips with his.

He then stood and offered her his hand. She ignored it and gave him a quick hug which ended with a kiss on his cheek.

"Good-night," she whispered as she moved away from him to climb the steps to her room for the night.

"Good-night," he sighed as he plopped down on the sofa.

Chapter 20