September 2018

Sunlight crept through the lace curtains, creating a golden halo around the man who stood in the path of its rays. Dawn rolled onto her back and stared boldly at her husband's nude form. She released a loud sigh of satisfaction.

"Go back to sleep," he told her.

"Come back to bed," she suggested, a wanton smile on her lips.

Nikolas wagged his finger at her. "Sheba II must be exercised. I mustn't neglect my duties."

"I could use some exercise, too," she said with a pout. "Why can't I go for a ride? Why does Sheba II get to have all the fun?" Dawn sat up and allowed the sheet to fall from her bare flesh. The cool air brushed against her skin, but it was her husband's smoldering dark eyes that caused her flesh to tingle. He looked at her with longing before throwing his head back and groaning.

"Mrs. Cassadine, is that any way for you to behave on your 20th anniversary of matrimony?"

She giggled. "Probably not. Are you complaining, my darling Nikky?" she implored in a sultry tone.

"Never." He crawled into bed beside her. His fingers threaded inside her silken locks as he lowered her to the bed. His hard, muscled body closed over her just as his mouth took possession of hers.

"Happy anniversary," she murmured as their bodies joined under the light of the vibrant new morning.


Keesha tightened the belt of her robe as she descended the staircase. The house was quiet for a change and she welcomed the silence. With a house that was usually filled with teenage voices, silence was a rarity. She appreciated the soothing calm of the early morning before the uproarious gaiety of the children brought a quick end to it.

She entered the kitchen just as the back door opened. AJ grinned at her while removing his key from the lock. "Good morning, beautiful."

"Hi, yourself," she returned with a smile. "You're up early. What brings you around at this time of morning?"

He shrugged. "I come bearing gifts, but only for adults."

She laughed and watched while he placed two small brown bags on the table. He pulled out a chair and gestured for her to sit. "Thank you."

"You're welcome." He brushed a blonde lock of hair off his forehead and continued to grin at her. "I didn't expect you to be awake. After last night, I was sure you'd sleep in."

"I woke up wide awake almost like a little voice whispered in my ear for me to get up."

This time, AJ laughed. "Are you sure that wasn't Jason-Everett?"

"No, he's sound asleep. Cartoons aren't on today so he won't be down until at least 9." She stopped talking and her eyes grew wide. "AJ! You shouldn't have." Her mouth watered just looking at the delicious pastries from the Grille. "Nikolas and Dawn's anniversary party tonight will add pounds to my hips. You don't have to get the ball rolling."

"What?" he asked. "It's only a couple of croissants, some muffins and cafe mocha with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. I think your hips can handle it."

"You are too much," she continued to protest as he set the breakfast in front of her. "You're spoiling me again."

"I think you deserve it." He pushed a chair close to hers and sat beside her. His fingers brushed against her cheeks before he leaned in to kiss her. When the kiss ended, he sat back and asked, "Have you thought any more about my proposal?"

"You make it sound like a business deal," she complained. "I told you I needed time to think about it."

"I know what you said, and I've given you time. I asked you to marry me two weeks ago. It shouldn't take you that long to accept."

She stood up and went to the sink. Since their spouses' deaths almost ten years ago, Keesha and AJ had grown very close. He became her rock and a surrogate father to her children, especially to her youngest, Jason-Everett.

When she first learned of the explosion, depression overwhelmed her, cloaking her with sadness. Over time, she came from under its oppressive hold and learned how to live again. But even so, losing Jason didn't seem real to her. She found it hard to accept and so did her two oldest children, Grace and George. She hired numerous private investigators to search for Jason and Eve, but they all returned with no results.

Finally, last year, she decided to give it a rest. Jason and Eve were gone. He wasn't coming back. With her gradual acceptance of her beloved's death, AJ remained by her side and romantic urgings began to stir within them. Now, he wanted her to be his wife and although she was ready to really move on without Jason, she wasn't quite ready for what AJ offered her.

"If you're worried about the kids," AJ said, rising and moving to stand behind her, "I think they'd be happy for us. This has been Jason-Everett's dream, you know."

"Marriage is a commitment that I don't take lightly, AJ," she said, looking down at the wedding ring that Jason put on her finger almost twenty years ago. "I love my son, but I won't marry you to please him."

"That's not what I meant," he said. "I was just saying that... Well, he'd be happy for us to be a real family. I'd be happy with that, too. I thought you would be, as well."

She turned around. Her hands rested on his chest. His blue eyes reminded her of Jason's and shone with so much emotion that her heart ached. "Just give me a little more time, okay? Please."

"Of course," he said with a tight smile. He kissed her cheek and closed his arms around her. Their embrace was warm and filled with understanding and love.


Michael Quartermaine glanced at the photographs and corresponding documents once more before he handed them to his fiancée, Grace and her twin brother, George. What he'd discovered would startle them, but it would prove what the three of them had felt all along. "It's all there. I believe it. What do you believe?"

All the color drained from George's face as he stared at the photographs. One by one, he passed them to his sister. Her mouth dropped open and then tears streamed down her face. Her hands shook as she clutched the glossy 8x10 photos. Michael wrapped his arm around her waist and held her close to him. His lips brushed against her temple as he waited for one of them to speak.

"I want to believe it's true," George whispered hoarsely. "They say that photos don't lie. I hope this one isn't."

"It looks so much like him," Grace added, "but what if it isn't? I don't want Mama to get her hopes up."

"Neither do I," Michael added. "I love Aunt Keesha. She's been through a lot over the years. We have to be careful with this."

"We have to be sure," George said firmly. "Jason-Everett doesn't even know him. We can't just bring this guy back and expect everything to be perfect-"

"He's not just a guy," Grace corrected. "He's our dad, Jason Morgan-Quartermaine, and he's not dead. Everything will be perfect when we're a whole family again."

"So, what now?" Michael asked, looking at each of them. "He's my Uncle, but you're his kids. You have to call the shots. Are we going to Los Angeles to bring him back or not?"

"When do you want to leave?" George asked.

"Tonight after the party," Michael replied. "We can borrow one of Dad's jets and go."

"It sounds like a plan," Grace murmured.

Michael heard the uncertainty in her voice. He guided her towards the window so that they could have some form of privacy. His hands lovingly cupped her oval shaped face. "I know you're scared that he won't be Uncle Jason, but there's a good chance that he will be. If you'd rather stay-"

"No," she interrupted. "I'll go. You and George will need me and I wouldn't think of letting you go alone."

George slowly came towards them. "I hate to interrupt, but isn't your Mom coming back tomorrow? Maybe you should stay here. I can go."

"You're not going without me," Michael informed him. "So, Carly will be here. Big deal. Eve may be out there with Uncle Jason somewhere. I miss her as much as you guys miss your dad. If I can find her, I want her back, too. Carly will survive a few days without me. She's done it before."

"Michael," Grace said gently, "give her a break. She's coming back to be the head Nurse of the Pediatrics Ward at GH. Play fair."

"What did I say?" he asked, defensive. "I'm happy she's back. She's been bugging about our wedding, and now, you can deal with her." He smiled as Grace made a face. "Seriously, I want to know if this man is Jason or not, and the sooner we find out the better."



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