Chapter 2

December 8, 1997

Luke's Bar

"Ladies and gentlemen, from now on, every damn thing around here is gonna be different."*

Luke Spencer's voice was loud and carried strongly over the laughter, good cheer and music of the attendees of his bash. But as Dawn Jensen moved through the crowd, the last thing on her mind was Lucas Lorenzo Spencer's declaration of what's to be.

As she neared the entrance where the object of her interest stood, she took a deep breath and slowed her steps. The slow pace gave her the time she needed to drink in the sight of him. A slow smile graced her deep crimson colored lips as she watched Nikolas Cassadine adjust himself to the atmosphere of the room. He was incredibly handsome. The top of his crisp, white shirt peeked from behind the collar of his black, trench coat and contrasted well with his olive skin tone. His brown eyes were unreadable as he quickly glanced around the room...until he saw her. Then he smiled.

Dawn smiled back and quickened her pace to reach him. She was oblivious to the looks of admiration that were thrown her way as she went to him. Dressed in a short, red halter-top party dress, she was beautiful. And as her eyes sparkled and her dimples deepened in reaction to having captured Nikolas' attention, she appeared even more so.

"Hi, Nikolas," she said when she stood before him.

"Hi, yourself," he replied. "I see that Tommy brought you here safely."

"More or less," she said with a small laugh. "With the way he drives, I'm lucky we made it here at all."

"Well, I'm sorry to hear tha-"

"May I see your invitation," Luke stated, rather than asked as he interrupted his wife's son.

Hoping to avoid a scene in front of Dawn, Nikolas quickly glanced at her and then directed his response to Luke. "I'm the guest of someone who hasn't arrived, yet." When Luke didn't respond to his comment and looked at him with stony eyes, Nikolas shrugged and said, "I'll wait outside."

"Don't freeze. My blowtorch is in the shop," Luke replied, his voice dripping of sarcasm as he raised his unlit cigar to his mouth.

"He's my guest. I have my invitat-"

Nikolas shook his head in Dawn's attempt to save him from waiting in the cold. He gave her a smile of gratitude and said, "Thanks, Dawn. It's fine. I don't mind waiting outside."

"You make sure you do that," Luke replied, his blue eyes were cold as steel as he waited for Nikolas to leave.

"I'll talk to you later," Nikolas said, giving Dawn's hand a light squeeze as he began to move away.

"Wait. I'm coming with you," Dawn told him. Nikolas waited for her and as they left the bar, Dawn grabbed her coat from the coat rack.

"You didn't have to come out with me," Nikolas said, helping her with her coat. His hands lingered on her shoulders, lightly fingering her soft, brown tresses, before he remembered himself and his girlfriend. He then quickly dropped his hands.

"I know. I wanted to," she smiled. "Besides, could you think of a better time for me to harass you about my next session?"

"Ah, that!" he laughed as they moved to stand closer to the road in an effort to clear the path for the new arrivals. "I should have known that you wouldn't stand in the cold just to keep me company."

"Yeah, I would," she answered softly. Their eyes locked for a moment. The attraction they'd felt since they started her fencing lessons several weeks ago was mutual. The way their breaths caught and held as they looked at each other told them that neither wanted to deny their feelings any longer, except there was one problem. Her name was Sarah Webber, and she was his girlfriend.

The thought of Sarah sobered Nikolas and he quickly looked away from Dawn's mesmerizing brown eyes. In an attempt to lighten the mood and change the tone of their interaction, in a joking manner he said, "Sure, Dawn. Tell me anything. It won't lessen my wrath if you're ill prepared for your next lesson."

"Oh, I'm so scared. Your 'wrath'! Give me a break," she scoffed as her eyes danced with humor. The look in her eyes soon changed to confusion as Nikolas' eyes widened in horror. "What is it?" she asked.

"NO!!" Nikolas drowned out her question as he threw her to the ground. He covered her body with his own as gunfire exploded all around them.

(Author's Note: Luke's opening line and some of his conversation with Nikolas came from the GH episode that aired 12/8/1997.)

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