Chapter 26

Keesha paced the length of the wall of her cell. She was deep in thought as she considered possibilities of escape. She knew her options were limited as she hadn't seen much of the place, but the next time, the opportunity presented itself she planned to make a run for it. Regardless of the consequences.

The sound of shuffling footsteps outside her door broke through her reverie. What now, she thought as she moved to the center of the room in wait of her unwelcome visitor.

The door slowly opened, and Simone quickly walked into the room. She looked behind her to make sure no one had seen her. Satisfied that they were safe, she closed the door and faced Keesha.

Keesha was shocked. She was surprised when Gina came through her door before, but the sight of Simone left her speechless. The last time she saw Simone was quite awhile ago. Simone looked much different then. Actually, she looked much better. This Simone was a thinner and haggard looking version than the one who almost married her cousin. Keesha knew that Simone hadn't kept in contact with Justus during her absence. Could Simone had been here all this time, Keesha wondered.

"Ssh," Simone whispered with a finger to her lips. She stood back and took a good hard look at Keesha. She was still considerably banged up from the blows she suffered, but despite that, she was still as beautiful as Simone remembered. Looking at Keesha made her feel like time had stood still.

"Simone? That is you, isn't it?" Keesha whispered.

"Yes," Simone said, opening her arms to Keesha. The tears fell as she embraced her old friend.

Keesha marveled at how frail Simone felt in her arms. If being here did this to her, there was no way Keesha would be here much longer. She'd escape somehow and get help to rescue Simone, Gina, and whoever else may be here.

They released each other and both moved to sit on the ground.

"I don't have much time. They left me have today off, but they'll check on me soon," Simone began.

"They? Who is this 'They'? Gina mentioned a 'They' and now, you are, too. What's the meaning of this? Why are 'They' holding us prisoner here?" Keesha asked, her voice rising as she became more and more agitated.

"Hush! Lower your voice," Simone fiercely whispered. She didnít want a beating for either of them if she was caught in there without permission. "If they hear usÖ"

"What?" Keesha asked, sarcastically. "They'll beat me again?"

"Yes. If we're lucky, that's all they'll do," Simone answered her, looking her squarely in the eyes. "Now, tell me what's happened to you so far, and I'll try to help you along the way if I can."

"Inspection," Keesha whispered, turning her head so she wouldnít have to meet Simone's eyes. It happened hours ago, yet, she still felt humiliated by the whole experience.

Simone raised her hand to Keesha's cheek and turned her head to face her. What happened to Keesha wasn't unique. The same had happened to Simone and she knew exactly how she felt. Dirty. Humiliated. Ashamed. But she also knew that Keesha would have to abandon those feelings if she expected to survive.

Simone smiled warmly at Keesha and nodded. With the small gesture, Keesha understood that Simone had experienced the same. Somehow, knowing that, eased the awfulness of it for Keesha just a little bit.

"Now, I want you to pay close attention to me, Keesha. What I'm about to tell you will make a huge difference in what happens to you here."

Keesha listened intently as Simone began to give her the benefit of her horrible experiences.

*~*~*

"Why are we at the Hardys, Justus?" AJ asked, irritated. He wanted to know what happened to Keesha and not waste time. When Justus told him to come with him, he thought they were going to the police. He couldn't believe his eyes when Justus drove them here.

"We're at the here because Mrs. Hardy's grandson may know something about Keesha's disappearance," Justus replied as he slammed the door of his black Lexus shut. He headed towards the front door with AJ close behind him.

"Grandson? You mean that little boy? What could he possibly know about Keesha?" AJ asked as he stepped onto the porch to join Justus.

"A lot. And by the way, he's not a little boy any more," Justus replied. "Yesterday, he came to me with this horrifyingly incredible story about where he and his mother have been for the last few years. I didn't want to believe him at first, but nowÖ Well, I wish I hadn't turned him away."

Justus pushed the doorbell. He prayed that Tommy would be there. He was sorry that he hadn't listened to him before, but he was ready to listen now. He just hoped that he wasnít too late.

*~*~*

Tommy and Nikolas searched every area of the park, but there was no trace of Dawn or her captors. They were angry and had no idea of what to do next.

"Dammit!" Nikolas yelled. "How could they just vanish like that?"

"And why the hell didnít anybody do anything?" Tommy said, just as angrily. "Somebody had to have seen them dragging her off like that."

Nikolas frowned. The thought of anybody dragging Dawn made him what to punch something. He glanced at Tommy, not that he wanted to hit him. In the hour they had spent searching for her, Tommy had proved to be a solid, young man. He and Sarah were alike, Nikolas thought. He could see how they could be cousins.

"What should we do now?" Tommy asked. He cursed himself for not going after those jerks. He didn't plan to stop until they found her and brought her back safely. Too bad she wouldnít be coming back to me, he thought sadly.

"I don't know where else to look," Nikolas sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. He could feel the knot that was forming back there. His head still throbbed, but it didnít compare to how his heart felt. He had to find her. Somehow.

Nikolas glanced at his watch. He didnít know where else to look, but he knew where he had to go.

Nikolas held out his hand and said, "Tommy, thanks for all your help."

Tommy shook Nikolas' hand and found that their grips matched in intensity. When Nikolas turned to leave, Tommy stopped him.

"Wait. Where are you going? I'll still help you look. I want to help find her."

"I know," Nikolas nodded. "but I'm not going to look for her. I donít even know where to look anymore. I'm going to inform her family of what's happened."

"Oh, okay. I can go with you if you want." Tommy offered.

"Thanks, but that won't be necessary. There are some things you have to do on your own," Nikolas replied quietly. With that said, he turned and walked in the direction of the Port Charles Grill.

~*~*~

Dawn overheard Angel tell Wayne to let her go. She knew that's what he said. They had to let her go because Angel said the Cassadines were evil, or something like that. So, why the hell was Wayne just standing there looking at her, she asked herself.

Then, realization hit her. He planned to have a little extra fun with her before he set her free. He'd have to kill her first, she decided.

Glancing around the room, she looked for anything she could use as a weapon. Her right arm was hurting her pretty badly, but she was sure her left arm could make up the difference.

As he came towards her, she willed herself to not back into any of the corners. Maybe if he came close enough she could knee him. Or better yet, maybe she could hit him where Nickie kicked him. From the way he carried himself, she knew he was still in a great deal of pain.

"Hey, there pretty little girl," he grinned. "I've never had me a dark chocolate honey before, but there's always a first time."

'Dark chocolate honey?' She'd show him a dark chocolate honey all right, she thought.

"Oh? Ain't got nothing to say? That's good. The quiet ones are always the better lay," he snarled. He stood right in front of her, his hot, stale breath in her face. His hands shook at his side as his gaze bore across her body. He imagined how good it would be with her underneath him, fighting him the entire time. Oh, did he love a wildcat.

"Don't touch me," she said through clenched teeth. She refused to give into the fear that threatened to consume her. She refused to consider that Wayne would attack her first, followed by Angel, and then, that Juan guy. She chose to think about how she would cause him pain if he touched her.

He reached out a hand to grab fistful of braids, but she was too quick for him. She sidestepped him and kick him in his knee.

Wayne ignored the pain in his knee and pulled her roughly into her arms. He tried to hold her tightly, but she refused to be still. She squirmed and moved and finally elbowed him in his side. The blinding pain he felt made him even angrier and he backslapped her in retaliation.

The force of the blow disoriented her and caused her to cry out in pain. He took advantage of her disorientation and shoved her to the ground. He landed on top of her and began to pull at her overalls. She continued to fight him and gripped her injured arm, forcing her to be still.

~*~*~

"What's all that noise?" Juan asked Angel. He thought that Angel was lying about something and now, he had a very good idea about what. "There's a girl in there, isn't there?"

"Yeah, Juan. Look manÖ" Angel stopped his explanation when he heard another scream. Wayne was up to his same old tricks. Usually, Angel would have turned the other way, but not this time. This girl was the girlfriend of a Cassadine. He wasn't gonna risk certain death just so Wayne could have a piece.

Angel ran back into the old, abandoned building. He was so intent on preventing Angel from making a dangerous mistake that he didnít notice Juan quietly slip away.

Angel burst through the door just as Wayne was about to unbuckle his pants. He pulled Wayne off the screaming girl. Wayne took a swing at him, but Angel was too fast. He ducked and sucker punched Wayne in his mid-section. Too many blows in the same spot caused Wayne to double over in pain.

Angel looked down at the girl. Her eyes were filled with hatred and fear. If he wasnít afraid of her boyfriend's family, he would have killed her for looking at him like that. Instead, he grabbed her hand and pulled her to her feet.

Once standing, she pulled her overalls back on and cradled her right arm. Her eyes never left his.

"Get out of here!" he yelled at her.

She didnít pause to contemplate his words. Angel watched as she flew out of the door and never looked back. They'll be others, he thought to himself.

Chapter 27

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