Chapter 41

"Hey, Dara, these come in various colors. This one is ribbed for extra pleasure. How about taking me to the drugstore to pick up a box or two?" Dawn laughed as she came into the living area, her eyes glued to a magazine.

"And what are you talking about, young lady?" Carrie asked her youngest daughter as she clicked off the television with the remote. She knew full well what Dawn spoke of, but she couldn't resist watching her squirm a little bit.

"Mama!" Dawn replied with a surprised look on her face. "Where's Dara? I wanted to show her something."

"She received a phone call and went to the courthouse. Now, answer my question. What do you need to pick up at the drugstore?" Carrie asked, her eyes danced as she watched Dawn fidget.

"UhÖumÖnothing," Dawn said, with a not so convincing smile. "I was just teasing Dara about something."

"Let me see that," Carrie said, holding out her hand. As Dawn handed her the magazine, she indicated that Dawn should join her on the sofa.

"Condoms. You know, I may not have agreed with your sister's methods, but I do agree with her message. Are these something you really need?" Carrie asked, as she intently looked at her daughter.

"I know about safe sex. I'm not stupid," Dawn replied quietly.

"I know you're not stupid. Besides, that's not what I asked you." Carrie placed the magazine down onto the coffee table and turned to face her daughter, as she said, "How serious are you about this boy? Has he pressured you to do anything?"

"No, Mama, of course not. Nickie's not like that," Dawn replied defensively.

"So, tell me. What is he like?"

"What do you mean?" Dawn asked, confused by her mother's question.

"I mean, what is he like? What type of person is he? Why were you able to stay with him for two nights without contacting me or your sister?" Carrie asked.

"Mama, I'm sorry I didn't call. IÖ" Dawn began. She felt guilty about not calling, but at the time, she felt that it was the right thing to do. She still felt that way.

"Honey, shh. I didn't mean to put you on the defensive. I just want to know more about this young man that you've spent so much time with."

"Oh. Well, NickieÖumÖ" Dawn stopped as she thought of the best words to describe the young man who had come to mean so much to her in such a short time. Her feelings for him were new to her, and she wanted to be careful not to reveal too much too soon. She didnít want her mother to learn something she didnít really know herself.

Carrie watched her daughter as she thought. The careful consideration Dawn gave her mother's simple question revealed more to Carrie than any words Dawn could have spoken. Obviously, Nikolas, or Nickie, meant a great deal to her. She wondered if Dawn realized how much.

"He's smart. He's funny," she began softly. Her eyes had a faraway look as she said, "He's beautiful and it's not just physically. He has a beautiful soul. I can talk to him. I trust him. He makes me feel safe."

Carrie nodded as she listen to Dawn's words. She realized that whether Dawn knew it or not, she was in love. Carrie felt happy for her, but she also felt a twinge of pain.

She never realized that her daughter didnít feel safe. She was partly to blame for that. By remaining silent during Robert's tirades, she had been negligent in providing her child with the security she needed. Dawn didnít seem to hold her responsible for her lack of action, but Carrie planned to make up for those years. All in all, she was happy that Dawn had found someone who provided her with the security she craved. Nickie, or Nikolas, seemed like an amazing person, and she was looking forward to meeting him.

~*~

"Robin, do you mind?" Jason asked, as he waved her hand away from his forehead. The aspirin had dulled the pain some, but Robin's constant attention wasnít making him feel any better. Actually, it annoyed him more than anything.

"I'm sorry. I just wanted to make sure you didn't have a fever. This could be the flu or something," she replied, her feelings hurt by Jason's attitude.

"I don't have the flu. It's just a little headache and it's practically gone," Jason said, as he rose from the sofa to review the blueprints again. Justus would be there soon and he wanted to make sure he had all the details ready for their discussion.

"We donít know for sure. If it is the flu, you could give it to Michael. You should see the doctor just in case," Robin continued pleadingly.

"Robin, no! No more doctors!" he answered vehemently. Robin jumped at his tone and he immediately felt apologetic. He didnít meant to yell at her, but sometimes, she didn't know when to let things be. "I'm sorry, Robin, but I'm fine. Really."

Robin nodded at his words of apology. Lately, he seemed to snap at her no matter what she said to him. She never knew how to act around him, as he was never consistent with her. She was afraid of losing him and she didn't understand why.

Jason sensed the trepidation she felt and he moved to console her. He opened his arms and she went to him willingly. As her arms closed around him and his around her, he felt the beginning of another headache, but he chose to ignore it. He was more than thankful when Reynaldo opened the door and announced Justus.

"Hi, Jason. Robin," Justus said as he entered the room. He looked inquiringly at Jason. He was surprised to find Robin there when they had the plans to discuss.

"Hi, Justus," Robin said with a smile, within the comfort of Jason's arms.

"Justus." Jason sighed as he looked down at Robin. He hoped this wouldn't be difficult as he said, "Robin, Justus and I have some matters to discuss. Would you mind going upstairs with Michael for a while, or maybe you could visit Brenda or something."

"Oh. I thought we were spending the afternoon together," she said with a frown.

"I know we were, but something important has come up and we'll have to schedule something for later," Jason said, as he pulled himself from her arms.

"Oh, okay," she said quietly. "We can do something later. I think I'll leave you two alone. Brenda wanted me to go over some swatches with her anyway."

After she left, Jason breathed a sigh of relief. He had been excited when they renewed their relationship, but he didnít realize how draining she could be.

"Trouble in paradise?" Justus asked. Jason's relationship with Robin didnít matter too much to him, but he had notice a change over the last few weeks. He had wondered if he imagined it, but after the previous scene, he was certain he hadn't. Oh, well. Jason's relationship problems could be put on hold. He and Jason had more urgent matters to consider.

"Not really. You know, I've been reviewing these blueprints every since you left this morning. If we plan to do this right, we need the Hardy boy to tell us everything he remembers. These passageways are too confusing for us to go in there blind," Jason replied, indicating the area with his finger.

"I was thinking the same. I called the Hardy home, but no one answered. I plan to go by there after we're done here. By the way, I spoke to AJ," Justus added.

"Really," Jason said quietly, concentrating on the document.

"He wants in on this. I told him I would give him the details once we've finalized everything."

Jason looked up from the blueprints and said, "No."

"Jason, c'mon. I know you're still upset about what went on about Michael, but AJ has a right to be involved in this. He loves Keesha and he wants to be involved in bringing her back," Justus replied.

Jason felt the beginning of another headache as he moved to the sofa. He reached for the aspirin and swallowed it dry as he considered Justus' words. The thought of AJ being involved in their rescue mission annoyed and angered Jason in more ways than he could understand. He didnít want AJ involved and if he had his way, he wouldn't be.

Chapter 42

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