Chapter 5

Simple Kind of Life

Early morning

Sleep was non-existent. Nikolas tried, but every time he closed his eyes… All he saw was Dawn and her fear. Then, he'd roll over and try again. That time, he'd see Dawn with Jason and their baby. The images became his own little torture chamber inside his head. He gave up on slumber, got up, and headed for the coastline to walk and to think.

Warm, wet sand clung to his toes. The salty air from the Aegean Sea stung his eyes and face. The sensations rippled through him, but did little to clear his head. He walked for miles. By the time he turned around to retrace his steps, the sun was peeking over the horizon.

A memory from four years before came to mind: their honeymoon. Dawn had never been to Greece, so a trip to the family's island was his wedding gift to her. She loved it, or so she said. They went for walks along the shoreline and when they became tired, they'd stop and make love on the sand. Many times, they awoke to a beautiful sunrise such as this. Remembering the joy of that time brought an ache to Nikolas' chest. Four years ago. It was amazing how much could change in such a short amount of time.

He neared the white, secured structure that was his home. Just as he reached the steps leading to the first floor, he stopped. The curtains to Dawn's room were opened. He saw a shadowy form drift away from the window. She'd been watching him. He wondered if she remembered their past. If she ached when she thought of it, too?

Mrs. Landsbury was still in Port Charles at Wyndemere so Milo served as the head of household here on the island. The older woman was faithful, but Nikolas didn't trust her to keep Dawn's unwanted return to herself. There was no doubt in his mind that she'd call Stefan. Dawn had been right about the senior Cassadine. Stefan would have demanded for Dawn's release, and that would have been unacceptable.

Milo appeared as Nikolas entered the foyer. Nikolas smiled in greeting. "Breakfast will be served in the solarium overlooking the sea. Is Mrs. Cassadine awake?"

"Yes, sir."

"And have my instructions been followed?" he questioned.

The manservant nodded. Jet black hair spilled onto his forehead. He brushed it away with the back of his hand. "Yes, her suite of rooms have been restored and she was moved into them as soon as she awakened."

"Is she pleased with the arrangement?" Nikolas asked and then changed his mind. "Never mind that. I shall discover that for myself at breakfast…in twenty minutes."

Milo understood implied instruction. "Yes, sir."

Nikolas went upstairs to his suite, which was next door to Dawn's. He listened closely but heard nothing on the other side of the wall. She used to sing in the morning while getting dressed. He supposed she felt that since she'd been taken from her lover, she had nothing to sing about. He shrugged and headed for the shower.

Exactly twenty minutes later, he stood in the doorway to the solarium. The first sight of her stunned him. She's so beautiful. Her tawny cheeks were flawless. Her soft, full lips were made for kisses. Her slender neck led to rounded shoulders that beckoned to him. The gown she wore was white, filmy and gauzy. The material wasn't form fitting, but that didn't stop Nikolas from remembering what lay underneath. An exquisite body. Aphrodite's paled in comparison. Blood flowed rapidly through his body and moved to one destination. He adjusted his pants accordingly, inhaled a deep breath before crossing the threshold.

"Good morning." He stopped at her chair and placed a chaste kiss upon her cheek. She flinched. He shrugged the insulting movement off. That was to be expected. He settled on a chair adjacent to hers. Per his instructions, they were alone which meant they had to serve themselves. He reached for the carafe of coffee and as he filled his cup, he said, "I trust you slept well."

Her shoulders stiffened. She took her napkin and wiped the spot where he'd kissed her. "As if you give a damn."

"Coffee?" he offered, extending the carafe to her. She stared straight ahead, silently refusing to answer him. He sighed and set the container down. He placed his napkin onto his lap and said, "As you can see, all of your favorites have been prepared. Honeydew melon, strawberries, and grapefruit. Crepes with chocolate sauce and whipped cream." Still no response. Frowning, he said, "Has your love for chocolate disappeared as swiftly as your love for me?"

"Nikolas," she said, her tone chilly.

He reached out and covered her hand. She tried to tug free, but he held firm. "Yes, my pet?"

Her eyes cut to his. "That's what you want of me, isn't it? A pet. You never wanted a wife. You just want something under your beck and call. Something to worship and fear you."

"No." His thumb skimmed her palm. His other fingers checked her pulse. It raced out of control. "I never wanted your fear. What I wanted was simple. A simple kind of life with a wife and a family. A home."

She snorted. "You could have had that."

"I almost did." He released her hand and leaned back against his chair. "Until you ran away with Morgan. You ruined everything, Dawn. The dreams we had…the plans we made… Was it worth it?"

"I ruined everything?" she repeated. "Me? I suppose your affair played no part in ruining our dreams and plans? It was all my fault."

"I explained that--"

"There are no explanations for what transpired between you and that model, and God knows who else--"

"There was no one else," he interjected. "It was a mistake."

"And now, you tear me away from my family so that I can come here and start a new one with you." Her laugh held a wild, angry edge. "You have lost your damn mind! I will not give you an heir! If you want one, find that model bitch and let her give you one!"

Dawn tore from the room. He made no move to stop her. She needed time. Time to forget the bad and focus on what could be good between them again. Time for her to forget Jason Morgan. Time for her to realize that he, Nikolas Cassadine, was the best thing to ever happen to her. And that she was the best thing to ever happen to him.

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