Chapter 10

The Abyss

Keesha needed a break. The talk the night before with Sonny had drained her. She woke up the next morning still tired, still depressed. And then there was the baby. Jason's baby. With Dawn. The infant's cries struck a dark, lonely chord deep inside her chest. Every sound the baby made--whether cry or giggle--hurt. Keesha wasn't proud of her reaction, but she couldn't stop it. So, she did the only thing that would work. She left the penthouse. Of course, Rinaldo accompanied her.

They didn't set out with a particular destination in mind. She just asked the bodyguard to drive and he did. During their excursion, Keesha realized she liked Rinaldo. Unlike a couple of Sonny's other bodyguards, he didn't have the gift for gab. He did as he was asked and advised when she was on the brink of making a 'mistake.' Other than that, he left her alone. That's what she liked. Being left alone.

"Let's stop here."

Rinaldo pulled into the parking spot at the curb. Keesha recognized the move as a part of his protective instincts. In case someone came after them, the car would be easily accessible. The bodyguard turned off the engines, walked around to the back and opened Keesha's door. Standing close beside her and watching everything closely, he escorted her inside the busy, upscale department store.

Wyndham's wasn't like any other store in Port Charles. Keesha realized that years ago back when she first moved to town. She and Mary Mae went on a shopping spree and Keesha was instantly hooked. Whenever she wanted to forget about the world, she could step inside the air-conditioned building with its cool mannequins and stylish outfits and be completely swept away. She didn't know if the store worked its magic on any of its other patrons, but is certainly had her bewitched. That was fine with her. As far as her life went, she could stand a spell or two. Something, anything that would pull her from the abyss that she seemed to have sunk in to.

She could spend hours within the triple-storied building and she did. Rinaldo remained faithful and silent beside her. After a while, she forgot he was there.

Until a trickle of apprehension caused the hairs on the back of her neck to stand on end. Someone was staring at her. She stood still, her gaze taking everything in at once. Then, she came upon a pair of aquamarine eyes. The eyes glared back at her and she frowned.

Why would Jasper Jacks stare at her? What was his problem?

"Miss Ward," he said as he approached her.

"Mr. Jacks."

He glanced past her. When he looked at her again, a frown creased his brow. "Are you aware that man has been following you for the past two hours?"

"What man?" she asked. She pulled her jacket close around her and looked around. If someone had followed them, Rinaldo should have been aware of it!

"This man," Jax said, nodding toward Rinaldo. "He's one of Corinthos' minions. If you require assistance…"

She sighed with relief. Of course. No one knew she was staying at Sonny's penthouse. Besides, it wasn't anyone's business. "No, it's fine. Rinaldo is with me."

Angry dots of red colored Jax's cheeks. "You're together?"

As if it was any of his business!

Keesha bristled. Jax's strangely colored eyes brimmed with disdain. Who the hell was he to pass judgment on who was with her? They didn't even know each other that well. They worked on an AIDS project once years ago. An only engaged in polite conversation. A few business lunches, but nothing else that warranted this reaction.

Some of what she was thinking must have read in her eyes. His demeanor changed. "Excuse me. I became alarmed when I saw him following you."

Curiosity got the better of her. "Why do you care? Why were you watching me for two hours?"

His features relaxed into a charming smile. Keesha held her breath to keep from getting caught up in the whirlwind. Not only was the department store bewitching, but this man also held a certain potent aura. She drew her gaze away from his compelling eyes and looked down to the floor, waiting for his answer.

"I heard about your cousin's…death, and when I saw him with you… I apologize for my abrupt behavior, but I won't apologize for my concern." He reached out and cupped her elbow. Her eyes cut to his. His smile faded, but not from his eyes. His eyes held a welcoming light and a hint of something more. "Are you certain you're okay?"

For some reason, she answered him honestly. "No, I'm not certain of anything…except that Rinaldo won't harm me. Everything else is up for grabs."

"I'm sorry to hear that. Is there anything I can do?"

Keesha slowly exhaled and answered, "Strangely enough, I think you're doing it."

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