Dawn and Nikolas sat alone in the interrogation room. Their families had agreed to give them a few minutes alone before they parted ways for the night.
After a short session of question and answers where a few details, namely Wayne's almost attack, were omitted, Dawn needed this time alone with him. She had been so scared and alone during the time they were separated that she craved the calmness and peace that she found whenever she looked into his warm, brown eyes.
“I’m so sorry about what happened,” he said quietly as he tenderly held her hand, unshed tears glistening his eyes.
“It’s not your fault,” she said, staring into his eyes. “No one's ever fought for me, but you did. I’ll never forget that Nickie.”
“I should have fought harder. I shouldn’t have let them hurt you,” he said, as remembered how she was held, a single tear rolled down his cheek.
“Oh, Nickie,” Dawn whispered. She moved from her chair to stand beside him as he sat in his. Conscious of her injured arm, she embraced him, allowing his head to rest against her. She gently stroked his hair as he pulled her closer to him.
“None of this was your fault. You have some incredible moves. When you were done with him, he was shaking,” Dawn laughed softly.
Nikolas moved his head to look up into her eyes, and asked, “Why do you that?”
“Do what?” she asked with a frown.
Nikolas rose from his chair to stand by the window. Turning to face her, he said, “Laugh like that. You were taken by two men with guns, but now, you're making jokes. Why?”
“I don’t know,” she answered with a slight shrug. “I just do. It's who I am. It's what I've always done.”
Dawn grew quiet as she remembered a time when her sense of humor wasn’t there for her. When Wayne was on top of her grabbing at her overalls, she didn’t find anything funny at all. She shuddered as she recalled how his hands groped and touched her body. Her eyes clouded over as she went inside herself with the memories.
Nikolas watched as the countless emotions crossed her face. He shouldn’t have said anything, he thought. He didn’t want to upset her. He only wanted to understand.
Quickly, he moved to her side. He cupped her face in has hands and raised her head so that he could look into her eyes. The look she gave him was full of pain, and he mistakenly thought it was directed at him.
“I’m sorry. I had no right to say those things to you,” he whispered.
She swallowed back a sob and rested her forehead against his chest. Nikolas pulled her into his arms for a closer embrace, but he released her when he heard her gasp.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“It’s my arm. I don’t think it’s broken, but it sure doesn’t feel too good right now,” she said.
“Dammit. We should have insisted that you go to the hospital instead of answering Garcia’s questions,” Nikolas said angrily.
“Hey. Calm down,” she said with a smile. “I wanted to answer those questions. Remember? My arm hurts now, but it will heal. Besides, I wanted to tell them everything I could remember about those two jerks. It’ll be okay. I just need to put it on ice.”
“No, buts! But what about that lump on your head? Has anyone looked at that? Those head injuries can cause permanent damage, you know?”
“Wow,” he said with a smile.
“Wow what? And why are you smiling?” she asked with a small smile of her own.
“I’m smiling because you’re back,” he said before he lowered his head to cover her lips with his own. Their lips parted as their passion for each other soared.
Conscious of being watched, they ended their kiss sooner than either of them wanted to. Nikolas raised his head, and lifted her chin to look into her eyes. He asked, "Will you be alright tonight? If you don't want to go home with Dara, you can come back with us to Wyndemere."
"I can't keep running away," she said quietly. Earlier, she had made up her mind about it and she intended to stick to her decision.
"What about your father? Are you ready to face him? Should I come with you?" he offered.
A fresh set of tears blurred her eyes when she heard his caring words. She was so moved by his offer that she had to swallow hard before she was able to speak.
"Thank you so much, Nickie," she said softly, willing her voice not to break, "but this is one battle you can't fight for me."
“So, she’s okay?” Carrie asked into the telephone. She hadn’t been able to sit still since Dara called to tell her that Dawn had been abducted. When Dara called a little while later to tell her that Dawn was back, words couldn’t describe the sense of relief she felt. Her baby was finally coming back all safe and sound.
“Yes, Mama, I told you that the first time I called. Her arm is slightly injured but she’ll be fine. We’ll be home soon,” came Dara’s voice through the receiver.
“Okay, sweetheart. I’ll be here, waiting for you both.”
Carrie hung up the telephone and moved to prepare Dara’s bedroom for Dawn’s return. They had decided that for tonight, Dawn would sleep in Dara’s bed and Dara would sleep on the sofa bed.
After quickly preparing the bed, she turned her attention to the kitchen. During their brief telephone conversation, Dawn told her that the only thing she had eaten in the last few hours was a small dinner roll. Her baby would have real food, Carrie decided. She was so intent on going through Dara’s pantry and refrigerator that she didn’t hear the front door open and close.
Carrie dropped the pan she was holding and turned around at the sound of the masculine voice.
"Did you get enough air?" she asked her husband, her voice laden with sarcasm.
"Listen, Carrie, I'm sor-", Robert began.
"Sorry? Is that what you were about to say? Our youngest child has been missing for days and was abducted and all you can say is sorry?" Carrie asked angrily, flinging the pan she had dropped into the sink.
"Abducted? What are you talking about?" Robert asked.
"What I just said. She was in the park on her way to speak with Dara when two men grabbed her and took off. Had you been here, you would have known about it."
"Carrie, there's no need to get an attitude," Robert replied condescendingly.
"An attitude? This is not attitude, Robert. This is fed up," she said, as she brushed past him to go into the guest bedroom.
Robert followed her and asked, "Fed up? Carrie, you're becoming hysterical. I know you're excited because Dawn is coming back home, but you really need to calm down."
"No, what I really need to do is end this," she said as she flung open the door to the walk-in closet. She grabbed the empty suitcase and threw it onto the bed.
"Carrie…" Robert began, placing his hands on her shoulder.
"Don't 'Carrie' me," she replied, shrugging his hands off her shoulders. She went back to the closet and began pulling clothes and shoes out. After she found all the items she wanted, she went back to the bed and began putting the things into the open suitcase.
"Those are my clothes," Robert said quietly.
"We're taking Dawn back tonight?" he asked, confused.
"No," she said, continuously adding clothes.
"Well, what are you doing? Why are you only packing my things? What about yours?"
"Robert, don't be stupid. You know exactly why," she answered him, calmly. She zipped the suitcase closed and carried it into the living area.
"So, you want me to wait for you in New York, while you and Dawn get this thing settled?" he asked, following her into the other room.
"No. I don't want you to wait for me in New York. I want you gone. I don't care where you go. Just leave," she said, placing the suitcase by the front door. She opened the door, folded her arms, and looked at him.
"I don't believe this," he said, laughing.
"You'd better believe it. This little charade is over," she replied, looking him dead in the eye. "I've had enough of you. Of this. Our baby ran away because of your nonsense. She could have been killed, and it would have been all your fault. And the worse part of it all is, you don’t even care. For some reason, you've never really cared. Well, I've had enough of watching you hurt our child."
"Look, I don't know what she told you, but-"
"No, buts, Robert. Good-bye. She'll be here soon. I don't want her to see you," Carrie replied. Her eyes were cold as she looked at her husband. Years of watching her daughter's heart break because of his treatment of her had taken it's toll. Carrie had her daughter back, and she had no intentions of losing her again.
Robert saw the coldness in Carrie's eyes and knew that he had better heed her words. He moved to the door, picked up his suitcase, and stood still for a moment. He reached out a hand to caress Carrie's cheek and said, "I'll go for now, but I will be back. This isn't over."
After he left, Carrie leaned against the door for a moment. She released the breath she had been holding and went back into kitchen. Both of her daughters would be home soon. She wanted to welcome them with a home-cooked meal.