Chapter 14

 

A loud cry sounded from the living room. AJ hurried with drying his hands to investigate.

Michael still sat on the sofa. A look of surprise covered the teenager's face. He stared at the empty chair and space on the sofa as if in shock or disbelief. AJ didn't understand what was wrong with him.

"What is it?"

"They're gone," Michael said, rising to his feet. "Kyle and Alicia are gone."

"Who are they?" AJ asked.

"What do you mean? You met them! Alicia is about this tall with curly brown hair and a beautiful smile. Kyle is my height and has a smart mouth. They're twins. You spoke to them. I can't believe they're just gone!"

AJ went to the upset teen. "You'd better sit. Have some more apple juice."

"I don't want anymore juice!" Michael backed up and stumbled. "I don't understand what's happening. They were just here! No one can vanish into thin air. What… Oh, my God." He dropped to the sofa. "They're gone. Keesha didn't come over. Jax left with her. My cousins disappeared because they don't exist…not anymore. Oh, my God."

"What did you put in the apple juice?" AJ questioned, grabbing the empty glass from the end table. He sniffed but all he smelled was apples. Not that that meant anything.

"It's not the apple juice." Michael ran his hand through his hair. "I can't explain it."

"Try," AJ demanded.

So, Michael did and AJ found the story unbelievable. Yet, he believed.

-/-

"NO, MORE LIES, CARLY!"

"GO TO HELL, TONY!"

The shouts carried down the hall. Michael stood up quickly. Maybe too quickly because the room spun. He held onto a chair to steady himself and while he was regaining his balance, AJ shot out the door. As fast he could, Michael followed him across the hall.

AJ's fist pounded the door. He shouted with each hit. "Open up, Tony! Open the door now, or I'm calling the police!"

The door wrenched open. An older man with flushed cheeks and anger blazing in his eyes stood in the doorway. AJ shoved past him and Michael stumbled behind. Carly sat on the sofa, rubbing her swollen abdomen and snarling with anger.

"What do you want, AJ?" she muttered.

"To help," he answered. "I heard the shouting. I was worried."

"Oh, great," Tony bit out, "another savior to save Carly. She must attract them like bees to honey."

"I never asked you to save me! You came after me—"

"That's a lie!" Tony rushed toward her, but Michael's arm shot out to stop him. Tony balled his hand into a fist, ready to strike out. Then, his eyes narrowed. He pointed his finger toward Carly. "You came after me. You're a destroyer, Carly. Everything you touch turns to dirt."

"Tony, come on," AJ said. He looked at Michael and then at Carly. A frown creased his brow. "Not everything she touches. The baby she carries…"

"Is a bastard!" Tony yelled. "She doesn't know who the father is…or so she claims. I give her this apartment. We build a nursery. A family is what I thought we would have. It was all a lie, AJ. She's a worthless liar!"

"Damn you, Tony!" Carly clutched her middle. "And damn you, too, AJ! You both think you know everything about me. I'm no good. I'm worthless. But I wasn't so worthless that neither of you could resist fucking me! Right?"

"Carly, stop it!" AJ said. "You don't know what you're saying!"

But she continued and Michael watched the scene in shock. This was his mother. The woman who ran out on him and left him with his uncle…or maybe his father? He stared at AJ, trying his best to make her be quiet because he knew the truth about Michael. AJ knew that Michael was Carly's son and had traveled through time to save his father's life. But listening to her screech, rant and rave, Michael wasn't sure about anything. Least of all about who his father was because now that he thought about it, he looked a helluva lot more like AJ Quartermaine than Jason Morgan.

Bloodcurdling scream ripped him from his thoughts. Carly doubled over. Red and clear fluid flowed from her and flooded the carpet. A wave of dizziness washed over Michael. Oh shit, he thought, what now?

-/-

Flecks of pink and gold streamed through the window of the coffee shop. Dawn had spent the night there with Phineas, just talking, and now the sun was rising. A new day had come. She blinked as the sun peeked on the horizon. The time seemed to have flown by. She didn't want the moment with Phineas to end.

"More tea?" the waitress offered.

Stifling a yawn, Dawn nodded. Phineas frowned playfully.

"You should be in bed."

The thought wasn't such a bad one. Not if he was beside her. Their gazes met. She blushed. He smiled as if he knew where her thoughts had taken her.

"Asleep." A wicked gleam in his eyes belied the word he'd spoken.

The waitress' return with their refill interrupted the flirtatious banter. Dawn added sugar and lemon. As she stirred, she said, "A Voyager, huh? You don't have a home. You and Jeffrey just travel from place to place. It must get lonely."

He pulled a napkin from the dispenser and folded it into a sailboat. "It does, but we have each other."

"Is it enough?"

Phineas crumpled the boat into a ball. He met her stare. "It used to be."

She grew hot under the heat of his gaze. Attraction sparkled between them, but it was so much more than that. A connection ran deep inside her heart and pulled her to him. She didn't want him to leave and if he had to, she wanted to go with him.

"It's not anymore?" she asked, holding her breath.

He shook his head. "I love what we do and I love Jeffrey like he was my own kid. But when it comes to falling in love, I have to keep my distance."

"You've fallen in love before? On the job so to speak?" Dawn asked. She didn't want to know the details, yet she did. Their time together was coming to an end. She wanted to learn everything she could before they had to part.

"Yes, she was destined to marry someone else," Phineas replied. "I almost changed history, but it wasn't right. I broke her heart and she went back to him. We got the green light so we left. Lives were saved because of it."

"A green light versus a broken heart," she murmured. "Will that be the outcome this time around, too?"

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