"NIKOLAS!" the mahogany beauty cried, tears streaming down her face. She carefully held the gunshot victim in her arms as she crooned, "You're gonna be okay. Do you hear me? You're gonna be just fine!" She sniffled and looked into the growing crowd of bystanders to scream again, "SOMEBODY! PLEASE! HELP US!"
Phineas led the way to reach the young man whose life he and Jeffrey had journeyed to save. As he neared the couple, Phineas' steps faltered. His gaze locked with the young woman's watery brown eyes. An electrical current shot through him. Attraction hit him squarely between the eyes. A slight frown creased her brow as if she felt it, too. He opened his mouth to speak, but the moment was lost as Jeffrey nudged him.
"Bogg?" Jeffrey looked at him with concern. "What's wrong?"
Phineas blinked and looked away from her. Shaking his head, he knelt beside the young woman and Nikolas Cassadine. He chanced a glance at the young woman, hoping that he wouldn't lose his focus again. "Hi, we're here to help him, but you need to give us some room. Can you do that?"
"Who are you?" she asked. "He's been shot. I-I don't know if… You don't look like paramedics."
"Bogg, we don't have much time," Jeffrey warned.
Phineas jerked his head in an impatient nod. He knew that and he also knew that he shouldn't wonder what connection the beautiful young woman had to the Cassadine kid. It was none of his business. He was there to save the world from becoming a frosty ice cream ball, not fall for a much younger damsel in distress.
"Miss?" Bogg began.
"My name is Dawn."
Her voice, melodious and soft, floated over him. And her name was as beautiful as she. "Bat's breath!" he muttered under his breath. He was losing focus again. "Dawn, we can help him."
"I'm planning to study medicine. Let me try."
Phineas looked up. Michael, the oldest of the kids they let tag along, stood there. The twins were right behind him, and Alicia's eyes were huge and drawn to Cassadine. Fortunately, Kyle had a firm grip on her. If the sight of blood made her woozy, her brother would soften her fall.
Michael crouched on the ground of the other side of Nikolas. He glanced at Alicia and then at Dawn. "You don't want to be here for this. Kyle, take them away."
Kyle took her elbow, but Dawn refused to move. "No, I want to be here. Nikolas has to know that I'm here."
"You don't want to see what has to be done," Phineas said gently. "Trust me, your friend knows you're here."
"He's right little darlin'," Luke said, joining them. "Just stand over there. They know what they’re doing."
"And why should I listen to you?" she cried, breaking free of Kyle's hold as she faced Luke. "You don't even like him! For all I know, you could have told those people to shoot him!!!"
"Dawn!" Tommy screamed as he hurried to her. He wedged himself between her and Kyle and gathered her into his arms. "Emily, Lucky, and I just heard about Nikolas. Oh my..." He abruptly ceased speaking at the sight of Nikolas' ashen face and bloodied shirt.
"Don't say it, Tommy, please," Dawn choked.
"Come on," he said, "let's go back inside. Do you hear that? Those are sirens. The paramedics will be here soon. He'll be okay. Come on, now. Let's go back inside. Dara's worried sick about you."
Phineas watched as Tommy led Dawn away from him. Despite their brief interaction, he realized he wanted to know more about her. He didn't want to see her walk away without him getting the chance to say one last thing to her. "Dawn?" he called as she and her friend neared the steps.
She turned as the unfamiliar voice said her name.
The chaotic surroundings faded into the background as Phineas' gaze locked with hers. "Everything…will be okay. Trust me."
She offered him a teary smile and turned away, allowing Tommy to lead her into the bar.
Michael's hands shook. The past few moments threw him. A few feet away lay his father with a gunshot wound to the chest and here before him was Nikolas Cassadine. Michael wanted desperately to check on Jason, to save his father's life, but he'd made a promise to save Nikolas Cassadine's. He drew in a harsh breath. His father was right there! Only a few feet away and he was dying! Michael wanted to help him, not some stranger.
"Michael," Bogg said. His deep rich voice interrupted Michael's internal debate. Bogg fixed him with a hard blue-eyed stare. "Can you do it or not?"
"He needs a tracheotomy," Jeffrey said. "If you can't do it, we can. We don't have much time."
Michael nodded, but he didn't move.
"This is why we're here," Bogg quietly reminded him.
Nikolas began to convulse. The guy Michael recognized as Luke Spencer placed his hands on Nikolas' shoulders. The older man bit out over his shoulder, "Do it now, man!"
Indecision left him. Bogg was right. They were there to save Nikolas Cassadine. All he could do was pray that his father made it through, too. Michael barked out what he needed. The instruments were supplied and he got to work.
"What's happening?" Alicia asked, looking into her twin brother's eyes. She tried to glance past him, but every time she moved her head, he moved his shoulder to block her. "Kyle!"
He turned and looked behind him. When he faced her again, his caramel colored face was pale. "Michael just slit his throat. He's not convulsing anymore. Either Cassadine is dead or Mikey saved his life."
"Kyle!" Her mouth dropped open. How could he be so insensitive?
"I'm sorry, Ali," he said, his contrite expression reminding her so much of their mother. "I didn't expect to see that when I turned around. I think he's okay."
They stood on the sidelines. Sirens grew louder until the EMTs finally arrived. Michael, Bogg and Jeffrey stepped back as the paramedics loaded Nikolas inside the ambulance. The tall, skinny, bald guy climbed in with them. The doors closed and they sped off. The second ambulance was loaded just as quickly. Alicia noticed Michael stare longingly at the departing emergency vehicle. She left her brother's side and moved to Michael. Her hand closed around his upper arm.
He looked down upon her touch. "Hi, Alicia. You okay?"
"I was about to ask you that." She jutted her chin. "Your dad was in the second ambulance, wasn't he?"
Michael nodded. "Yeah, that was him. I wanted to go to him, but those bodyguards wouldn't have let me near him."
"You wanted to what?" Bogg asked, joining them. A dark scowl marred his handsome face. "None of you were supposed to interact with these people. That was the bargain!"
Kyle stepped forward. "Michael just saved Cassadine's life! Don't yell at my cousin."
"Excuse me?" The young woman who'd been with Nikolas approached them.
A momentary twinge of jealousy stung Alicia. This girl knew Nikolas. They were friends. What would it be like to be Nikolas Cassadine's friend? To be able to hold him in her arms and know it was okay? Alicia wondered that and more.
"I don't want to intrude," Dawn said. "I just wanted to say thanks. Frank, one of the paramedics, said you saved Nikolas' life. I'm sorry I got in the way. Thanks for helping him."
She'd spoken to the entire group, but her gaze rarely strayed from Phineas. A tiny smiled played at the corners of Alicia's mouth. Maybe Dawn and Nikolas weren't together after all.
A broad grin shattered the previous frown on Bogg's face. "We're here to help."
"You did," Dawn replied. "Thanks."
"Did the paramedic have anything to say about Jason Morgan?" Michael asked.
A definite look of distaste crossed Dawn's face. "That thug?"
"What do you mean by that?" Kyle asked, moving to Michael's side.
"If Luke Spencer didn't hire those idiots to shoot at Nikolas, then those guys were gunning for Jason Morgan. He and Anthony Moreno are in a ridiculous turf war," her voice broke. She took in a deep breath to compose herself. "You want to know about Jason? Frank said that he lost a lot of blood and it doesn't look so good for him. I'm going to hospital to check on Nikolas. Thanks again."
"He lost a lot of blood," Michael repeated quietly, almost as if he spoke to himself.
"Bat's breath!" Jeffrey grumbled. "It's a red light."
"What's a red light?" Alicia asked, torn between wanting to comfort Michael and feed her curiosity. "What are you talking about?"
"He's talking about our job," Bogg answered. "According to the OMNI, our work isn't done here."
"So we can't leave, yet?" Alicia asked, unable to keep the hopefulness from her voice. If they got to stay a little longer, maybe she could meet Nikolas.
Bogg shook his head. "No, we can't." He looked at Jeffrey. "What else could be wrong?"
"Maybe Cassadine's life isn't the only important one here," Michael said. "Maybe we have to save my father, too."