"Push play," Nikolas said as they settled into his Jaguar.
Dawn glanced at him to see his reaction, but his eyes were on the road as he maneuvered the Jag. She followed his bidding and pushed play. She started laughing when she recognized the song, "I Was Made for Loving You" and the band.
"KISS!!" she laughed. "My favorite song, too."
He smiled and said, "Surprise."
"So this was my surprise? Pretty impressive," she said leaning toward him to quickly kiss his cheek.
"You're incredible, you know that?"
"Yeah. I know, but I'm curious. Why do you think so?" she laughed as she leaned back in her seat and raised her face to the open air.
"I'm serious. You are," he replied quietly.
She looked at him and frowned, "No, I'm not. I'm not incredible. I'm just me."
"Yes and that's why you're incredible. Because you're you," he said glancing away from the road to look at her.
Her eyes held his for a moment before she sighed and looked away. She wanted to believe him, but her father had told her the opposite for so long that part of her couldn't believe Nikolas' words.
Nikolas sensed her thoughts and gently said, "Your father was wrong."
She felt the tears sting her eyes, but she refused to give in to them. She blinked and faced him again. She gave him a dazzling smile and said, "If you say so."
"I do. I say so," he said quietly.
She was afraid to say anything else for fear of an onslaught of tears. She and Nikolas had shared a wonderful night together and she didn't want to mar it with tears of sadness. She smiled at him again and turned away. Her eyes were immediately drawn to two young men on the sidewalk across the street.
"Nickie, look over there. Isn't that Tommy?" she asked.
"Yeah," he said. He tensed when he saw Lucky. He didn't want to and he hated to acknowledge how his half-brother affected him, but he couldn't help himself.
Dawn sensed the change in him and asked, "What's wrong? Who is that boy with him?"
"He's my mother's son," Nikolas replied quietly.
Tommy stopped when he recognized the familiar sports car. He waved at Nikolas and Dawn. He smiled when they waved back.
"You know him?" Lucky asked. He stiffened when he recognized the black Jaguar. The last person he wanted to see tonight or any night was Nikolas Cassadine.
"Yeah. That's Nikolas," Tommy replied. His voice softened when he added, "And Dawn."
Lucky looked at the car again. He hadn't noticed the girl before. She was cute, but why would she saddle herself with someone like Nikolas, he wondered. Probably the car, he decided.
"She's pretty," Lucky said.
Tommy sighed and said, "Yeah."
Lucky looked at him. Tommy had it bad, he thought. Poor kid. Judging from the looks of things, she only had eyes for Cassadine. She probably wasn't worth the trouble anyway, Lucky thought, but he didn’t say the words to Tommy. He knew from experience that Tommy was in no position to hear anything he had to say about her.
The Jaguar u-turned and pulled alongside them. Lucky groaned and squinted his eyes at Nikolas. Tommy smiled and went to the passenger side of the car.
"Hi, Tommy," Dawn said brightly. She moved her head to look at Lucky and said, "Hi."
Lucky nodded at her and looked away. Tommy said, "Hi Dawn, Nikolas."
"Hi, Tommy," Nikolas replied and smiled at Tommy. He glanced at Lucky and saw him staring at him. Nikolas stared back.
"What are you guys doing out so late?" Dawn asked, her eyes full of concern.
"Speaking of late, we'd better get going," Lucky said before Tommy could answer her question.
"Yeah, he's right. We'd better get going," Tommy said, backing away from the sidewalk.
"Where are you off to?" Dawn asked. She wasn't usually this inquisitive, but something about their behavior made her suspicious.
"Yeah, what's going on, Tommy?" Nikolas asked. Nikolas picked up on their behavior, too. He didn't give a damn as to what Lucky involved himself with, but he didn't want to see Tommy dragged down with him.
"Nothing you'd want to involve yourself with, Cassadine," Lucky replied tersely.
"What does that mean?" Nikolas asked Tommy, refusing to be bated in front of Dawn. He'd trade barbs with Spencer another time.
"He's right, Nikolas. You don't want to get involved with this," Tommy replied.
"Let me be the judge of that. After what you did for me and Dawn, I couldn’t refuse you if you needed help in some way," Nikolas said.
"You don’t owe me anything," Tommy said quietly, shaking his head.>
"I owe you everything," Nikolas said quietly. Then he added, "Besides, what are friends for? I'm serious. If you're in trouble and need help, let me know."
Tommy considered Nikolas' offer. He could tell by their clothing, especially Dawn's dress, that they were out for a special evening. He didn’t want to come between that, but on the other hand, Nikolas was offering to help. Judging from Dawn's facial expression, she wasn't upset by the intrusion either.
"I'd better tell you what's going on first. Then you can decide whether or not you want to be involved," Tommy said.
"So you think the men who took Dawn may be involved in this?" Nikolas asked, leaning against the passenger side of the Jag, his arms folded across his chest.
"Yeah, there's a strong possibility," Tommy answered.
"I'm in," Nikolas replied.
"No," Dawn said quietly, but firmly.
As Nikolas turned to face her, Lucky and Tommy moved out of earshot.
"Yes, I have to. I made you a promise and I intend to keep it," he said, reaching to caress her cheek.
Dawn moved away from his touch and said, "Don't try to distract me. I don’t want you to go because of me. Helping Tommy get his mother back is one thing, but going after the men who… Besides, you made me another promise tonight."
"I intend to keep that promise, too," he said quietly. He leaned on the doorsill and said, "I have to do this. Tommy went out of his way to help me look for you. He brought you back. I want to help him. I can't not help him."
"I know that and I understand that, but if something happens to you tonight…" her voice trailed off as her eyes filled with unshed tears again.
"Nothing will happen to me. I'm coming back to you. Nothing will keep me from coming back to you," he said, brushing the tears from her cheek.
"Hey, Cassadine! Time's wasting!" Lucky shouted.
"I have to go with them. You do understand, right?" Nikolas asked. He hated to be the one to bring tears to her eyes, but this was something he had to do. He couldn’t just walk away.
She sniffled for the last time and said, "I understand."
Nikolas smiled and leaned to quickly brush her lips with his own. "I'll call you when we get back."
Nikolas willed himself not to react and said, "I'll be right there."
Dawn smiled at him. She realized what going with his half-brother meant. She didn't know the full story, but she sensed that whatever was between them was big. And awful. She was touched that he was willing to put aside his differences with Lucky for her and Tommy.
Nikolas caressed her cheek with his fingertip before he moved to join them. Realizing that he forgot something, he went back to the Jaguar.
"Did you forget something?" she asked with a small laugh.
"Yes. The Jaguar," he said.
"Hmm, I thought so. I can call a cab from the penthouse," she suggested.
"That won't be necessary, unless you don't know how to drive a stick shift."
"I know how, but what does that have to do with anything?" she asked.
"Take my car. Jason's penthouse is just a block away. I'd be happier knowing that you're in my car instead of in some cab."
"Nickie, I can't take your Jag," Dawn said in disbelief.
"Yes, you can. Now, move over into the driver's seat and take off. You know the way to Dara's, right?" he asked.
"Yeah," she replied quietly, moving over into the driver's seat. As she settled behind the steering wheel, she raised her eyes to Nikolas. In that split second, she decided if she saw trepidation there, she would insist that she call a cab.
Nikolas looked at her with trusting eyes and motioned for her to take off. As she u-turned and screeched off into the night, he heard Lucky chuckle behind him.