Chapter 18

~ All for Love ~

"Hi, George," Dawn greeted the young executive as he left her husband's office and she entered.

"Hi, Dawn. Bye, Dawn."

He closed the door after him and Dawn strode across the office to perch on the edge of Nikolas' desk. She crossed her legs, revealing long, shapely gams. Nikolas reached out to touch her. She blocked his assault by grabbing his hand.

"Not so fast."

"Tease," he accused with a pout.

"No, I'm not the tease," she said. "You are. I can't believe I was resorted to tracking you down at the office. You disappeared on me!"

He laughed. "I did not. I told you I had a meeting with George this morning."

"Yeah, but before you left you were supposed to tell me why you were so weird yesterday!" She hopped from his desk and moved behind his chair. Her hands closed around his shoulders, massaging and kneaded his hard muscles. He sighed and pushed against her hands. While she worked, she said, "You're driving me nutty, you know. I can't think straight and the guys are working at the studio without me. Do you realize how unprofessional this looks?"

"My wife is giving me a back rub in my office and I am loving every minute of it…" Nikolas released a faint chuckle. "Yes, sweetheart, I'm fully aware how unprofessional this may seem to some."

"You're avoiding the subject."

He nodded. "I am and it's on purpose, too. What if I told you it's a surprise? Would that matter?"

"Yesterday, I would have been delighted. Today, I'm dying to know! Nikky!"

He swiveled quickly in the chair and pulled Dawn onto his lap. One hand settled on her waist while the other fell to the small of her back. Trapping her, he stole a few kisses and then leaned back with a smile. "I have half a mind to keep this surprise to myself, but I won't."

"Thank you."

"I bought a movie studio," he said. "That's my surprise to you. It's yours to do with it as you wish."

She reared back in surprise. "Are you serious?!"

"Yes. Completely."

"Should I guess which one… Oh, wait. Nikky, you didn't have to do that."

He lightly cupped her cheek. "I had to. Holding you as you cried wasn't good enough. I don't want you to ever cry again about something like that. We have the means to make changes, and we will."

"Just when I think I can't love you more than I already do, you show me that I can." She wrapped her arms around him, hugging him close.

After the embrace ended, he asked, "What do you plan to do with your film production company? I've already taken the liberty of relieving your organization of a few unmentionables. I leave all other decisions completely up to you."

"To me?" She pointed to her chest. Shaking her head, she said, "Oh, no. I know nothing about the film business. Music, yes. Movies, no."

"Aren't you willing to learn?"

Her mouth dropped open. "Of course, I am! But this is huge. I wouldn't even know where to begin, or what to do once I started. I'm gonna need help!"

He laughed. "I thought you liked challenges."

"This is more than a challenge. The studio couldn't have come cheap. I don't want to waste your money."

He released a long, dramatic sigh. "First, it's not my money. It's ours. And yes, the studio cost more than a couple of pennies, but that doesn't matter. What matters is what happens now. I bought it for you, but if you don't want it, I suppose I can find someone else to be in charge."

"It's not that I don't want it…" she began. "I don't want to mess up."

"You won't." He kissed her nose. "You never do. I have an idea. I'll hire someone to assist you until you're comfortable."

Dawn frowned. "That would suck. This person comes in, props me up and then gets booted once I'm okay."

"Woman! What do you want me to do?"

She laughed. "I don't mean to be difficult."

"Yes, you do," he countered with a smile, "and I wouldn't want you any other way. Just tell me what you want and I'll make it happen."

"Give me some time to think about it." She rested her head on his shoulder and snuggled. "And while I'm thinking, say that last sentence again. It makes me feel all warm and toasty inside."

~*~

Robin first few days on the Pediatrics Ward at General Hospital were great until she heard who would be heading the nursing staff. None other than Caroline Benson-Santiago otherwise known as Carly the shrew. Damn! Robin couldn't believe how rotten her luck had been since her return to Port Charles. First, Nikolas was still hopelessly devoted to his bimbo wife and now, this. She and Carly having to work side by side. Could life get any worse?

She made a thorough review of the floor. A few children had a bad case of chicken pox. They were quarantined at the hospital because their version of the illness was much worse than what's normally out there. The kids were asleep when Robin checked in so she looked over their charts. According to the notations, they were better than the day before. She made a mental note to check on them later and continued with her rounds.

When she finished, she stopped at the Nurse's Station. She wanted her co-workers to know that she wasn't like most of the egotistical doctors out there. She was accessible. Besides, it wouldn't hurt to have allies on her side just in case things with Carly got rough.

"Have you heard the latest?" Janette, one of the younger nurses, asked. "No one can believe it."

"Believe what?" Robin questioned. "I'm not usually one for gossip, but I like to keep on top of things."

"Well, you'll love this!" Janette leaned in close and whispered, "Dr. Quartermaine's son has returned from the dead!"

"What? Who? Jason?" Robin's questions came out in sputtered gasps. This was almost too much to take in.

Her mind went back to their break-up twenty years ago. It had been sudden and painful. He'd said so many hurtful things and it had taken her years to forgive and forget them. When news reached her that he and Keesha had married, she was glad for them, but still harbored a little resentment. She'd heard about the plane crash that killed Jason and Eve, and was saddened by his death. Now, that he could possibly be alive, she didn't know what to think or how to feel.

The nurse vigorously nodded. "He's here to do a DNA test. I'm not sure about the particulars, but it's all amazing, don't you think?"

"Utterly," Robin said. "I have to go."

She stumbled away from the counter and headed for the elevator. The nurse didn't have a close relationship with the Quartermaines, but once upon a time, Robin did. She would call on that now to find out from Monica just what the heck was going on.

The elevator took her to floor that housed the hospital's numerous laboratories. She moved briskly down the hallway. Her footsteps came to an abrupt stop when she saw him. Blond hair, Arctic blue eyes, and chiseled face. Robin's heart leapt to her throat. He was alive.

~*~

"Monica, please," Carly implored, walking fast to keep up with the quick doctor. "The hospital is buzzing like rabid bees! Just tell me if it's true or not. That's all I want to know."

"Why should I tell you anything?" Monica asked, whipping around suddenly. Her voice was quiet, but lashed as coldly as a steel blade. "Haven't you done enough damage to my family?"

"AJ and I worked through the past," Carly countered. "It's about time you caught up with the program."

Monica's mouth tightened. "I knew it was a mistake allowing you to work here."

"Is that a threat?" Carly asked, incredulous. "You'd fire me? Try it, Monica, and you'll have the worst lawsuit on your hands. I'm damn good at what I do! Damn good!"

"Lucky for you, you're not lying about that. At least," Monica replied. "You wouldn't have been considered if you didn't do your job. Make sure it stays that way or your ass will be out of here before you can blink an eye!"

Carly inhaled deeply. This was going badly. Very badly. All she wanted was the scoop. AJ canceled last night's dinner and now, she's hearing that Jason had returned. Would it hurt for one of them to tell her what was going on?

"Fine, don't tell me," Carly snapped. "I'll just ask my son."

"This is the worst time to bother Michael with your hysterics," the doctor told her. "Leave him alone. Leave this alone. It doesn't concern you."

"That's where you're wrong," Carly said. "If Jason really is alive, it concerns me a great deal."

Carly moved away, but she wasn't far enough away to hear Monica's question.

"Why? Because you think you love him? Give it a rest, Carly. Just give it a rest."

Monica's steps retreated and Carly stood still. Quietly, she whispered. "I can't."

~*~

At the earlier meeting with Nikolas, George's ideas for the latest marketing plan were approved. He now had to come up with something for the television ads. Usually, ideas crammed his brain. But this time, he couldn’t concentrate. Everything he came up with sucked. He balled up the latest brainstorm of worthless thoughts and threw them into a trashcan. After informing his secretary that he'd finish the work day at home, George packed up his belongings and left.

Half way to his place, he realized he lied. He couldn't go there. He had to go home. To the Ward House. His Mom and Uncle AJ had taken little JE in for DNA testing. He didn't want to hear about the results over the phone. He needed to be with his family when the word came in.

George found his mother in the den. One of their family photo albums covered her lap. He lingered in the doorway for a second and then he coughed to let her now he was there. She glanced over her shoulder and smiled. "Hi, Georgie. Come and join me."

"Georgie?" he said with a faint chuckle. "You haven't called me that in a long time."

"You're a grown man now," she said, accepting his kiss on her cheek as he joined her. "I didn't think you liked the nickname anymore."

"I don't mind," he said. He jutted his chin toward the album. "Whatcha doing? Why are you looking at those old pictures?"

"I just pulled it out," Keesha said, shrugging. "JE had some questions after his trip to the hospital. Before I answered them, I wanted to make sure I had things right."

George glanced down at the old images that were taken during his and Grace's first Christmas with the newlyweds. He and his sister had been abandoned by their parents. Social Services gave them to Jason and Keesha. At first, the twins had been a little scared, but the couple's hearts were so filled with love that they let their guards down. By the next Christmas, he and Grace were adopted and officially became Morgan-Quartermaines.

"I remember this, going to GH to hear the Christmas story," he said quietly. "My memories begin with this Christmas. Everything before that is a blur." Tears caught in his throat. He swallowed them down. "You and Dad made us feel so loved. I'm not sure Grace and I ever experienced that before we came here."

"Oh, George." Keesha wrapped her arms around her oldest son and held him close.

"I'm so sorry," he said, pulling away. "We got caught up in wanting to see you happy with Dad again that we missed how happy you were becoming with Uncle AJ. We brought a monster back and now, he's gonna mess up everything. I should have… This is so bad, and it's gonna get worse. I'm so sorry, Mama."

He broke down. Sobs shook his shoulders. Keesha grabbed facial tissue and dried his tears. Her hand was warm and soft as it stroked his arm. "Don't, George. This isn't your fault. You, Michael and Grace were trying to help. You didn't know it would end up like this. You didn't know what would happen."

"How can you be so forgiving?" he asked. "The way he looked at you… He's so arrogant and close-minded. He's a bigot, Mama. If that man turns out to be Jason, what are we gonna do? He's determined to see JE, and I don't understand why."

"I wish I had the answers," she said. "AJ and I have talked about it. We're not immune to Morgan's personality quirks. If he is Jason, I don't care how much he wants to see JE. I won't let him."

"How can you stop him?" George asked. "You loved Dad a lot. I remember how happy you were. How will you be able to forget that and keep him away from his son?"

~*~

The Hardy family sat facing the headmistress of Ciarda's prospective new school. The woman, who appeared to be in her mid-forties, was attentive and well-spoken. She answered their questions without hesitation and countered the family with a few of her own. When the meeting seemed to near its end, Ciarda glanced at her parents. Their expressions were unreadable, but she no longer sensed their disapproval. Maybe they'd agree to her enroll. She crossed her fingers in anticipation.

"Do you have any more questions for me?" Headmistress Victoria Ho asked.

"Everything you've said and shown us has been incredible," Gina said. "Small classrooms, knowledgeable teachers and an extensive curriculum. You have quite a school here."

"Yet, I still sense some hesitation," Victoria said.

"She's never been away from home," Tommy said. "This will be a huge transition for all of us. We just want to be assured that our daughter will be in safe hands if we decide to let her stay."

"I can assure you," Victoria said, "that I take my girls' well-being very seriously. I know each student by name and every one of them knows that I have an open door policy. The enrollment is kept to a minimum for that reason."

Her parents became quiet and Ciarda used the silence to jump in. "It sounds wonderful. I really like it here. I want to stay."

Gina took her daughter's hand. "There is no guarantee that things will be different here. We just want you to be sure. In some ways, it could be worse."

Ciarda shook her head. "I don't think it will be. Besides, I know that I can change my mind, right? You would let me come home?"

"Of course, we would," Tommy replied. "We just don't want you to think that running away is the best way to face demons. It isn't."

"I know that, Dad, and I'm not really running away from them. I'm running to a new experience." Ciarda paused for a moment. "Please, just give me a chance to find out. Please."

Tommy glanced over Ciarda's head to look at Gina. Gina nodded, and Ciarda's heart leaped for joy.

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