Chapter 53

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

The hypnosis session was eye opening for Dawn. She discovered incidents long ago buried. Emotions that should have been processed twenty years ago were reawakened. Nikolas’ suggestion that they go for a drive seemed to be a welcome relief at first. But now that they’d stopped and he’d been staring at her for at least ten minutes, the relief quickly wore off.

She shifted in her bucket seat, silently cursing the tight confines of the Jaguar. Why did this have to be his preferred mechanical toy? Why not an Escalade where she’d have room to maneuver and avoid his scrutiny? “Kevin said you’d remember the session,” he said.

“I do,” she replied quietly. “It’s all crystal clear in my mind. The dreams make sense now.”

“Was it really like that?”

She looked away from the leather upholstery to meet the intensity of his dark, piercing gaze. “Yes.”

He took her hand and held it between both of his. The warmth of his touch soothed her more than it had a right to. She supposed it always would.

“I’m sorry.” His rich, masculine voice suddenly sounded hoarse. “I knew it was bad, but I... I should have remembered. You shouldn’t have gone through that.”

“Don’t apologize.” On instinct, she pressed her fingers to his mouth. “It wasn’t your fault. None of us should have gone through it. It was bad all the way around.”

“Ginny terrorized you. I should have been there!”

“You were always with me. I heard you all the time and I felt you... Lorenzo thought I was nuts, but I knew you weren’t dead. I wasn’t always sure if I’d see you alive and I made him promise to take care of you and our baby—”

“Oh, God.” He swallowed hard. “You were only eighteen!”

“So were you.”

Abruptly, he pulled away and left the car. While she sat stunned by his quick departure, her door opened and he pulled her out. His arms squeezed around her, molding her to the hard planes of his chest. Breathing became difficult, but she didn’t care. His strong embrace swallowed up months of heartache and confusion. She closed her eyes and remembered how they used to be and how they could be so much better. To each other and for each other.

~* * *~

“Mama, you didn’t have to come.”

Keesha ignored Grace’s voice of reason and instead focused on her daughter’s red-rimmed eyes. As she wrapped her arms around Grace, Keesha noticed the sadness in AJ’s blue eyes and the contemptuous expression on Carly’s face. Only Morgan stood there without any outward display of emotion. When he demanded to join her at the jail, his intrusion irritated Keesha. Now, she felt a strange sense of relief for his strange aura of serenity.

“You called. Of course, I’d come.” Keesha ended the hug and gently wiped the tears from Grace’s cheeks. “How is Michael?”

Grace shook her head. “I think he passed out.”

“Tell me you weren’t in the car with him,” AJ said, stepping forward to take her hand.

“No. I was on a photo shoot. He called me and I begged him not to drive.” Grace sniffled. “Then, I heard sirens and the police... I should have been able to talk him out of driving.”

“It’s not your fault,” AJ said. “He’s an alcoholic.”

“And who’s fault is that?” Carly screeched. “Damn you, AJ! You fought me tooth and nail for custody and this is how he turns out! A damn drunk!”

“Shut up, Carly!” Keesha said through clenched teeth. “You can’t blame AJ for this.”

“You were there, too,” Carly said, getting in Keesha’s face. “Miss Clean and Sober. Little Miss Perfect. Look at how my son turned out! Look at what you did!”

“You’re always so quick to blame someone else,” Keesha fired back. “You never look in the mirror! You never take responsibility. Even now, when your first concern should be Michael, you’re playing the blame game. Grow. Up.”

“You bitch!” Carly raised her hand to slap Keesha.

Morgan stepped between the two women and caught Carly’s wrist. “Enough, Carly. Keesha’s right. The kid’s in jail. It’s nobody’s fault but his.”

Hurt flashed in Carly’s eyes. She pulled her arm free of his hold. “So you’re defending her now, too?”

He shrugged. “She didn’t do anything. People drink because they want to. You can’t blame someone else for that.”

Was that Jason she heard in his voice, Keesha wondered. She shook her head. No, I can’t. He’s not. Jason is gone. She turned her back on them and faced her daughter.

“Have you seen him?”

“Not until they finish processing him. I think he has multiple charges.”

“DUI and what else?” AJ asked. All the color drained from his face as he spoke. Keesha knew he prayed this day would never happen.

“Speeding and resisting arrest,” Grace said. She looked at Keesha and then at AJ. “What do I do when he’s released? What can I do to make sure this never happens again?”

AJ shook his head. “There’s nothing you can do. It’s up to Michael. I’m sorry, Grace.”

He pulled his daughter-in-law into his arms. Keesha watched as two people she loved very much comforted each other.

~* * *~

Nikolas breathed a sigh of relief when he heard Tommy’s voice on the phone. He and Dawn were scheduled to speak with Dr. Michael McBain after the physician completed his examination of Dominik. The doctor had been with their son for quite some time so they expected the meeting to happen at any moment. Tommy’s call came at the perfect time.

“We found them,” Tommy said.

“That’s great.”

Dawn touched his hand. “What’s going on?”

“Tommy and Gina found Matt and Ellen,” Nikolas told his wife. Then, he spoke to Tommy. “How soon will you be here?”

“We’re flying over the Atlantic right now,” Tommy said. “We should be there by the morning. How’s Dominik?”

“Nothing’s changed,” Nikolas said, “but there’s good news in that.”

“Yes, it is.” Tommy paused a moment. “Have you seen my daughters?”

“They were at the hospital yesterday. Why? Is something wrong?”

“Just worried about them. I’m sure they’re fine,” Tommy said.

“Your mother and Sonny guard them with their lives.”

“I know.” Tommy sighed.

“I’ll check on them,” Nikolas said.

“No, I’m sure they’re fine.”

“I’ll see for sure,” Nikolas said. “If anything is going on, I’ll handle it.”

“You don’t have to.”

Nikolas smiled. “I know, but I want to and I will.”

“Thanks.”

“It’s the least I can do. You went across the world for my son—”

“Stop. We’ll be there soon. Give our love to Dawn and everyone.”

“I will.” Nikolas ended the call and slipped the cell phone into his pocket.

Dawn laced her fingers between his. “What’s going on? Are Matt and Ellen coming?”

“They’ll be here in the morning.” Nikolas looked at their joined hands. It was amazing how good the simplest touch felt. He didn’t want to believe how close he came to losing her. “Tommy is worried about the girls. After our meeting with Dr. McBain, want to come with me to check on them?”

“I’d love to, but...” She frowned.

“What? Do you have other plans?” The fresh vase of yellow roses came to mind. She said the photographer only wanted friendship. Nikolas doubted if the other man’s feelings were as simple as that.

“I want to sit with Dominik for a little while.”

“Oh.” Nikolas smiled. “Well, I can pick you up afterward.”

“Okay.” She returned his smile. “Thanks.”

~* * *~

Robin paused on her way to GH’s gift shop. She wanted to get something for Dominik, but nothing too conspicuous. Even though twenty years had passed, Robin doubted if Dominik’s mother had found her way to forgiveness. She wouldn’t either if the tables were turned.

As she wandered around the small store, she placed a call on her cell phone. A sensual, masculine voice answered on the other end.

“We agreed not to talk.”

She shrugged. “I changed my mind.”

“She won’t be happy about this. What do you want?”

Robin ignored his displeasure. He hadn’t been happy since the day he joined the little crusade for vengeance. Only family loyalty kept him tied to the plot. She didn’t care about his reasons, though, as long as he abided by the rules. So far, he had been until now.

“You’ve changed the plan.”

He grunted. “You’re the one calling me—”

“I’m not talking about this call,” she snapped. “The CD didn’t work.”

“It should have.”

“It didn’t.”

He paused before asking, “How do you know?”

“She’s been running around the hospital. You know the effect should have produced different results.” Robin stopped to look at the display of stuffed animals. Much too childish for a handsome young man like Dominik. She needed something that would hint at the sexual being lurking inside. “Did you switch it? It’s just you and me. You can tell me.”

“Don’t give me the best friend act. No, I didn’t switch anything. It should have worked. She’s burnt out. Only adrenaline is keeping her up. The message should have gone through.” He sighed. “I don’t know what happened.”

“Find out.”

She ended that call and started another one.

“Jimi Lee’s Florist,” a perky voice answered. “This is Jimi Lee. How can I help you?”

“Hi, Jimi Lee. I’d like to have a single red rose delivered to Dominik Cassadine. He’s a patient at General Hospital. I’d like it delivered every day. The most beautiful rose you have. Can you do that for me?”

“Of course. We have the most spectacular flowers in Port Charles. How should the card be addressed?”

Robin smiled. “To Dominik from a dear friend.”

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