Chapter 14

~ Conflicting Emotions ~

"When you said dinner…this isn't what I envisioned," Dawn said. Her eyes were wide as she stared at the elaborate layout. To her surprise, Nikolas had converted the first floor conference room into a romantic, candlelit sanctuary for two. White, pink and red roses adorned the table. Dawn moved away from the door and took a deep breath as she reached the table. The heady scent of the roses warred with the delicious aroma of herb roasted chicken, garlic mashed potatoes and small variety of perfectly sautéed vegetables. Her hand flew to her stomach as it grumbled in appreciation. With a soft laugh, she turned towards her host. "I don't know what to say."

Nikolas beamed. His hand reached for hers. "Your stomach said it for you," he said with a grin. "Let's eat."

Dawn didn't need to be told twice. Nikolas held out the chair for her and she promptly sat down. Her brown eyes danced as Nikolas grabbed a plate and began to serve her. She never knew how much she'd enjoy being taken care of. As Nikolas set her full plate before her with a flourish, she realized that she could get used to this. "Thank you," she murmured.

"It was my pleasure," he warmly assured her. He began to prepare his plate. With his attention divided between her and their meal, he began to speak. "I wasn't sure if you'd like this. I hope that the Grille won't disappoint."

Dawn set her fork down with a frown creasing her brow. "You mean you didn't slave over a hot stove? Well, I guess I'm not as hungry as I thought I was!"

"Oh, you just sit yourself down, Dr. Jensen," he said as she moved to rise from her chair. Gesturing with his forefinger, he stared at her until she had followed his bidding. "Your patients are important. I couldn't run the risk of you succumbing to food poisoning, now could I?"

Dawn laughed. "Thank you for your thoughtfulness. What was I thinking?"

"You were teasing me. As usual," he responded. He set his plate down on the table and then reached for a bottle of chilled sparkling apple cider. He poured them each of glass. As he handed a glass to Dawn, their fingers touched. He offered her a smile that caused her to tingle all over. Their gaze held until Nikolas bent down to cover her lips with his.

Minutes later, the kiss ended. Their dinner was now lukewarm and neither cared. Nikolas sat beside her as close as humanly possible considering the bulkiness of the conference room chairs. Dawn shifted in her chair to get a better look at him. He blushed under her scrutiny.

"Is there something stuck in my teeth?" he asked, reaching for his glass.

"No," she said as she shook her head.

"Are you aware that it's impolite to stare?" he countered, teasing her.

She cocked an eyebrow as her initial response. "I guess you should know."

"You saw me?" he asked, his voice husky and his cheeks now burgundy.

"Several times," she admitted. "But it's okay," she added in a conspiratorial whisper, "because I'm guilty, too."

"I'll say!" he said. He laughed as her eyes widened in surprise. "I am no stranger to female attention, Dr. Jensen. Especially when the female is someone who has captivated me so."

"Captivated?" she repeated. Focusing on her dinner, she spoke in a conversational tone. "I suppose European women are captivating…"

"I'm not…um…" He frowned as he searched for the words. "I'm not giving you a line. I'm sure that most men my age wouldn't use that word, but in all honesty, I cannot think of another one that could aptly describe what you've done to me."

"I haven't done anything to you," she mumbled. Slightly embarrassed, she scooted her chair an inch or two away from him. Too confused to eat, she drew lines in the mashed potatoes with her fork.

"Did I say something wrong?" he asked. He lifted her chin so that they could make eye contact. "You should tell me if I did. I don't want there to be any more misunderstandings between us."

Dawn tugged her chin free. Sitting back in the chair, she continued to look at him. "You didn't say anything wrong. I don't want any misunderstandings either. It's just that… Well, most guys don't use the words that you use unless they're angling for a roll in the hay. Nikolas, you're not like any guy I've ever known before. You're gonna take some getting used to."

He drew in a long breath before he spoke again. "I see."

"I didn't mean that in a bad way," she said when she could sense him withdrawing from her. "You have a different way about you. I'm not saying that it's bad or good. Actually, I think it's sweet…and charming. This dinner you set up… You make me feel special."

"You are special," he said, his eyes holding hers. "I didn't do this to seduce you. I did this because you deserve it. And because I wanted you to know that I meant what I said. I want to start over. I want-"

The PA system drowned out the remainder of Nikolas' heartfelt confession. Dawn's name was called and in a flash, she was on her feet and heading for the door. Before she left, she said, "Thank you for tonight."


Stone sat up straight in bed. He couldn't sleep. The penthouse was dark and quiet. He missed the echo of footsteps in the hall, the constant buzzing of the lights and the faint voices that drifted in his room and kept him company. And most of all he missed Keesha. He never knew when she would visit and somehow, he knew that she wouldn't visit him that night. The realization made him ache deep within his chest.

Moving quietly, he swung his legs off the bed. His feet sunk into the plush carpet and he flexed his toes, enjoying the sensation. The new feelings distracted him for a moment, but as the minutes passed, his thoughts drifted back to Keesha. Visions of her sunny smile came to mind. The imagines helped, but they also made the ache worse. Unable to sit still any longer, he rose from the bed and padded out of the room.

Stone was cautious as he moved around his new surroundings. Quietly, he slipped down the staircase to the first floor of the penthouse. He turned from the living area and went to the terrace doors. He turned the knob and pushed. The doors opened and the cold night air rushed in. He took a deep, cleansing breath.

"The view is beautiful, isn't it?"

Stone started. He hadn't considered that he would not be alone. Frowning, he responded to Sonny with a slight nod.

"See all the lights?" Sonny asked, indicating with a sweeping gesture of his hand after he moved from the shadows to stand beside Stone. "There's no better view in all of Port Charles. You always liked it."

"It's nice," Stone responded.

"Yeah," Sonny said. He looked away from the night sky to fixate Stone with a stare.

Stone shifted uncomfortably. People were always staring at him, and he hated it. He left the open door and headed for the staircase. Sonny called out to him, stopping him before he disappeared to his room.


Taking a deep breath, Stone moved to face Sonny. He wished again that he could have stayed at the hospital. He didn't like it there.

"This has gotta be weird for you, right?" Sonny asked. "That quack Jones said that everything is new for you. I've been thinking how it would feel…to wake up and not know anything or anyone."

"I know Keesha," Stone said. "It's not like how Jones says. I'm not stupid."

"I didn't say you were," the other man told him. "I have my doubts about Jones. With a little rest and some time, you'll be back like you were before."

"Back?" Stone repeated. "With rest?"

"Sure," Sonny said, nodding his head. "Robin and I fully intend to give you what those pompous bastards at GH couldn't. You'll remember everything, and you and Robin will be like you were before."

"Me and Robin…"

"Yeah, she'll be over in the morning. Don't worry. I'll give you two some breathing room so that you can get reacquainted. You'll be just like you were before. You'll see."

Sonny patted Stone's shoulder as he moved past him up the staircase. Stone's mind was in such turmoil that he didn't acknowledge Sonny's affectionate gesture. Tomorrow, Robin would be there. He knew from Sonny's tone of voice that her appearance was supposed to be a good thing. But for Stone, it was the opposite. The ache in his chest grew, making him dread the dawning of the next day.


The ER was a madhouse. A three-car pileup had everyone bustling. The medical staff was intent on saving as many lives as possible. Personal concerns were pushed aside as Keesha and Jason worked together to do their duty.

"How is she doing over there?" Jason asked, nodding his head toward the adjoining room. He instructed the duty nurse to prepare the injection as he waited for Keesha to fill him in.

"Dawn's doing okay," she told him after a quick glance at their friend who was hard at work on saving one of the crash's victims. "It looks like Frank is sticking around to help."

"Good," he said. "It's nice to know that he can do something more than yell."

"He's not that bad," she said. "The break was clean," she said, in regards to their patient. "Need help in setting it?"

"Of course," Jason said. "I'll hold him down. You can push it in."

Keesha did the task as quickly as possible. The young teenager groaned, but didn't fight them. After he was taken care of, the doctors gave the nurses further instructions and moved on to help the other patients.

An elderly woman lay on a gurney in the hallway and they went to assist her. She complained of chest pains and Keesha began an initial evaluation. Knowing that Keesha was more than capable, Jason left her to see if he could offer his assistance elsewhere. He promptly returned when he learned that all of the patients were being assisted.

"What happened?" he asked when he saw that the patient had fainted.

"She passed out," Keesha told him. "She doesn't have a history of heart ailments. I think all the excitement frightened her. I think we should hold her for observation just in case though."

"Good call," he said. He was silent as Keesha jotted down her recommendation on the chart. She slipped the clipboard on the end of the gurney and stepped aside as the orderlies wheeled the lady away. "This is a night that I won't soon forget," he commented as he followed Keesha to the nurse's station.

"Me either," she told him. Pausing, she stood still and looked at him. "One minute, it was just a normal night and then in a split second, this place was like that show…ER."

"Yeah, Burgess and Benton have a lot in common. No one barks out orders like those two," Jason said with a smile.

"Yeah, but I wouldn't let her hear that if I were you."

They laughed softly at the small joke. The moment lingered as the laughter died and silence surrounded them. Jason reached for her hand. "We haven't laughed together in a long time."

"No, we haven't," Keesha agreed, her eyes on their joined hands.

"It felt good, didn't it?"

She slowly raised her eyes to look up at him. "Yeah."

"Maybe this is what we needed," he said, taking a step closer to her.

"What?" she asked with a frown.

"Time together…working together to remind us how good we are. Together. I had almost forgotten," he said in a hoarse whisper.

"Jason…" she began. "Everything has been so weird."

"It doesn't have to stay that way," he said. "We love each other too much to let a few weeks of weirdness to break us apart." His fingertips lightly grazed her full cheeks. "Nothing has ever felt as good as being with you. Working side by side has made me realize just how impossible it is for me to just give up on us."

"You were ready to give up?" she asked, surprised by his admission.

"Almost," he told her. "But not anymore. I love you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen."

"I don't know what to say…"

"Say that you'll come home with me and that you'll give us another chance…"

Hypnotized by him, Keesha couldn't speak. Jason took her silence for consent and sealed his words with a kiss. Keesha responded by parting her lips. His tongue probed her mouth, leaving her dizzy and longing…and more confused than ever. If Jason could still make her feel this way, why was she so affected by Stone Cates?

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