Chapter 22

"So, his friends haven't heard anything from him at all?" Tommy asked, his attention entirely focused on his telephone call. A frown creased his brow as he asked more questions. "Is that normal when he's working on a case or not? Should I look at this as a good sign or a bad one?"

Lizzie stood at the bottom of the staircase. Silently mimicking Tommy, she rolled her eyes when she felt Sarah's stare. A cry of protest shrieked from her mouth when Sarah gripped her arm and steered her into the kitchen away from Tommy and his private conversation.

"Ouch!" Lizzie jerked her arm free and rubbed the bruised flesh. "Who the hell do you think you are? Grabbing me like that?"

"Who the hell do you think you are," Sarah repeated, "making fun of him like that? What is your problem? Is it too late to ask that you grow up?"

"We can't all be the blonde, blue-eyed Princess-"

"Stop it!" Sarah bit out with thinly veiled anger. "The sibling rivalry thing that's only real in your mind has gotten old, Elizabeth, real old but if you want that to be between us, then fine. But I'm telling you this once, you will not make fun of Tommy or what he's going through right now."

Lizzie folded her arms across her chest and jutted her chin out. "Or what?"

"Or I'm calling Mom and Dad and I'm telling them everything." The steely glint in her eyes conveyed that she meant business. As far as she was concerned, Elizabeth's second chances had run out.

"You little snitch! I bet you can't wait to call them," Lizzie accused. "What lies are you gonna tell them?"

Sarah shook her head. "I'm not the liar, little sister, and since you asked, I'll tell you. I'm telling them you ran away to come here, the smoking, the attitude you've given Gram, the stolen test papers and the condom. And that's just the Port Charles' stuff. Keep it up, and they'll hear about the junk you used to pull at home."

Lizzie shrugged and turned her back on Sarah. "It's not like they care anyway. Go ahead and tell them. What can they do to me? Nothing!"

"Our parents care, Lizzie," Sarah said softly as she patted Lizzie's shoulder and then headed towards the swinging doors that led to the living room, "they just have a strange way of showing it. Don't give me a reason to make that call because I have a strong feeling that they won't look the other way this time."

"What's so top secret between you and him anyway?" the younger girl asked. "What trouble is he in?"

Sarah shook her head again. She knew she shouldn't have expected a complete turnaround so soon. "He's not in any trouble. He's worried about somebody and is trying to help her."

"And now, you're best friends," Lizzie said with a tinge of jealousy.

"Not yet," she replied before pushing through the swinging door and leaving Lizzie alone to think things over.


"Thanks, Flea," Tommy said "I'll meet you at the brownstone in about an hour." He gave Sarah a faint smile as she entered the living room and sat beside him on the sofa. "I can't tell you how much I appreciate this."

He ended their conversation and hung up the telephone. Turning his head to look at Sarah, he waited patiently for the questions that he was sure she'd ask.

"Did her friend in Hawaii find out anything? Why are you meeting her at the brownstone? What's going on? What did I miss?"

He rose from the sofa and rubbed his hand over his short, wavy hair. "You haven't missed too much. Magnum hasn't checked in with her since he went to Lynn's brother's place. He's been out all night and no one has seen or heard from him since he first arrived there. Flea said that I shouldn't worry about that and I'm trying not to. I'm going with her into the city to see Lynn's mother. What happened with you and the Mouth in the kitchen? I didn't hear anything break and you don't have any teeth marks. I take it you won."

Sarah laughed. "Yeah, I guess I won this one. Nothing much happened. She thinks our parents don't care about her. Same ole story. How long will we be in the city?"

Tommy wagged his finger at Sarah as he shook his head. "There's no 'we' this time. It's just Flea and me."

"Why not?" she asked. "I won't get in the way. I told you before that I wanted to help."

"I know," he said with a smile," and I appreciate that, but you have school. I don't want Grandma coming after me for taking you away from your studies. I'll call you and let you know what happens in case we don't come back tonight, okay?"

"Okay," she said, unable to mask her disappointment. "Would it be okay if I dropped you off?"

"I was hoping you would. We might as well leave now. Traffic is probably crazy because of the blizzard."

They went to the hall closet and pulled out their coats and other necessary garments. As they bundled up inside their warm clothing, Tommy asked, "What did you say to Lizzie about your parents?"

She gave him a quizzical glance. "I told them that they loved us and have their own way of showing it. Why do you ask?"

He shrugged. "I've been thinking about the stuff you've told me about her...the things she's done. I don't think it would be a bad idea to give Uncle Jeff a call. She's acting out for a reason. Maybe it really is because she thinks they don't care. Trust me, I speak from personal experience."

"Do you really think so?"

"Yeah, I do," he said, nodding. "She may be in a grown up body, but she's still a kid, you know? Kids need their parents whether the parents realize that or not. Besides, you shouldn't have to be her guardian. Not when she has two able-bodied parents who can do the job."

Sarah frowned as he opened the front door and they both stepped outside into the cold, brisk air. As Tommy locked the door and then guided them across the freshly shoveled walkway to the carport, she said, "You sound like you think she may be right."

Tommy unlocked the driver door and said, "I don't think she's right, but I don't think she's wrong either. When my parents decided to go overseas, they took me with them. It wasn't an option. Uncle Jeff and your mom should know how their decision to leave you guys behind have affected you...both of you. That's all I'm saying. Haven't you wondered why they left you two behind? Steven Lars is in college so his staying here made sense."

He slid across the front seat to the passenger side and Sarah took her place in the driver's seat. She started the ignition and turned on the defrost. As the car hummed to life, she said, "We couldn't go because it was too dangerous."

"Well, if it was too dangerous for you, shouldn't it have been too dangerous for two people who had a couple of teenagers at home?"


"You've been making a lot of mistakes, Bobby-boy," Sal Mancusi told his son. He poured a liberal amount of vodka into a glass of orange juice and took a long swallow, all the while watching his son over the rim of the glass.

Bobby felt shaky underneath the heat of his father's unwavering stare. He swallowed hard to control his nerves and reached for a pot of coffee. For breakfast, he preferred coffee with a touch of brandy instead of screwdrivers. "I know I have, Pop, but times are changin'. I got leads on Lynn. She only thinks she's disappeared. She'll be back and the East will be ours. You'll see."

"Yeah. Right," Sal said, unconvinced. He set the glass down on his huge, mahogany desk and leaned back against the leather confines of his chair. Turning his unrelenting gaze from Bobby, he looked through the floor to ceiling windows out at the Philadelphia skyline. His voice was low and just barely audible as he asked, "And, this mess with Eric? What about that? I gave you the hotel room number and everything. How does he walk away from that, Bobby?"

"He didn't walk away-"

"You know what I meant!" Sal bit out. "Where is he? There was no sign of his remains at the hotel and no one fitting his description has been admitted into any hospital on this coast. How did the turncoat disappear?"

The coffee in Bobby's mouth tasted bitter. He gulped it down anyway and then looked at the floor. "I don't know, Pop. I've got men looking into that, too."

"What's his new name?" Sal questioned. "Where's he been all this time?"

"I don't know-"

"Dammit!" Sal slammed his fist down onto the desk. The desk shook from the force of his blow and his son flinched. "Don't ever say those three words to me again. You're the one, Bobby. This empire I built will be yours. Don't fuck it up. Now, what's his new name?"

Bobby's jaw clenched. He hated being reprimanded and worse than that, he hated weakness. His father was right. Emperors didn't cower and they weren't ignorant. They were fearless, omniscient and powerful. And so was he. Lifting his gaze from the floor, he met his father's stare head on. He kept his thoughts in check and hid them behind a blank, deadly stare. With a thin-lipped smile, he said, "The information is forthcoming."

Sal sat back and nodded his head once. "That's more like it."


Thomas Magnum had sat and listened quietly and patiently all night as Lynn poured out her heart to him. He knew that she thought she had only told him what he needed to know and had no idea that the subtext revealed a lot more. She was a brave, young woman who made painful sacrifices for those she loved. Her qualities were admirable and long before the sun rose over the Pacific, he had decided that he'd do whatever he could to help her sidestep Mancusi and reunite with Hardy. Being a romantic, he figured that it was the least he could do.

"Now, you see why I left and why I can't go back," Lynn finished.

"Life on the run pleases you?" Thomas asked, leaning back against the rocky cavern wall.

"Of course not, but what choice do I have?"

He regarded her behind a dimpled smile. "You always have a choice. Never forget that, Lynn. Besides, I told you last night. I can help you."

Lynn shook her head and auburn tendrils fell from her Tigers cap. She brushed the hair aside and pierced him with a hard, blue-eyed stare. "Why would you want to? We're talking about the Mafia, here. They're not two-bit thugs. They're mean and vengeful. Bobby shot his brother in the back! If he'd do that to his own brother, what wouldn't he do to you?"

"He'd have to catch me first," he replied in all seriousness. "I guess I'm a sucker for a love story."

She looked away from him then. Her voice drifted to him, quiet and strained. "Tommy will get over me."

"Don't be so sure about that." Against his wishes, the face of his former wife, Michele, came to mind. His love for her had run deep, and when he thought he had lost her, the pain was almost unbearable. Later, when she turned up alive, he was so grateful that he didn't recognize her betrayal. Even when he did, he couldn't be angry with her. He guessed that a part of him would always be tied to her, would always love her.

Lost in her own thoughts, Lynn had been oblivious to Thomas' inner turmoil. She picked up a stick and began to draw lines in the sand. "Bobby said he'd kill him if I... Tommy has a life in front of him. He's so smart and kind and loving. He's s-so good. Bobby would strip him of that first and then, he'd do much worse. I knew that I shouldn't have become involved with him, but there was something about him... I couldn't resist."

Her voice had become husky and as quiet as a whisper. The first tear fell just as Thomas reached her. He wrapped his arms around her in a comforting embrace. While she cried on his shoulder, he gently stroked her hair. "I'm good at what I do, Lynn, and I have friends in the right places. I can help you, but I won't unless you want me to. I have to admit that I don't think you'll last much longer. Men like Mancusi like to hunt and a young woman on the run is easy prey."

"I'm too scared to stop running. What if he finds me?" she questioned through her sniffles. "What can you do to help me?"

"I won't let him find you," Thomas promised. She pulled away from him and he watched as she dried her tears. "The first thing I would do is get you off this island. I have a friend with a chopper. He can pick us up and take us to Oahu. I live in an airtight estate complete with fierce guard dogs and an even fiercer majordomo. From there, we regroup. I'll then call Felicia and see what we can do about reuniting you with Tommy."

"It almost sounds too easy."

Thomas shrugged. "Sometimes, it is that easy."


Silence had filled the apartment since Sonny's arrival. Dara eyed him suspiciously. She was angry with him for coming unannounced and uninvited, but she was curious, too. What was so urgent that he would risk so much to come to her home? The sex had been good, but it hadn't been worth risking his or her life over.

"Okay," she said, folding her arm across her chest. "You're here. Say your piece and leave. I have things to do."

"With Scorpio?" he asked. He moved slowly around her living room and dining area. His dark eyes looked at her possessions and from his stare, it seemed as though he memorized each detail.

"That's none of your business."

Sonny stopped in front of the fireplace. On the mantel was a framed photograph of Dara and Ellen. He picked it up and stared at the two images of the women. Quietly, he asked, "Does he know about us?"

That was it! Dara stormed over to him and wrenched the frame from his hand. "There is no us! Now, get out!"

He raised his hands in defense and stepped back. "I phrased it wrong. My apologies. Does he know about what happened between us?"

"Will I have to call the police to make you leave?"

Sonny rubbed his hands over his face and when he looked at her again, his eyes were filled with apprehension. "Listen, Dara, I'm sorry. I didn't come here to upset you."

Clutching the frame to her chest, she expelled a low breath. Her senses were rattled. His actions bewildered her, leaving her confused. What did he want from her? Why couldn't he just walk away? She turned her back to him and placed the picture back on the mantel. "Why did you come here?" she asked him again.

"I couldn't stay away," he explained. "I wanted to see you and see if your feelings have changed. Dara, you know as well as I do that Scorpio can't give you what I can."

"You have no idea what Mac can give me. A man like you would never have a clue," she said after she moved to face him. "You think it all revolves around sex, but it doesn't. There is so much more and I feel so sorry for you because you will never know that."

He stepped towards her, blocking her from escape as he placed both hands on either side of her onto the mantel. His gaze locked onto her and only an inch of space separated them. "I wasn't talking just about sex, Dara. If you gave it a chance, you'd know that. Don't fall into a trap because you're scared to take a chance." He pulled a business card from the breast pocket of his shirt. He placed the card on the mantel. "There's my number. I'll be here for a little while, but I won't wait around forever."


The sterile environment of the hospital was cold and reminded Jason of the times he'd spent there. He had hated it. The loss of control was overpowering and something, he fought hard against. As a patient, he hadn't been too successful and even as a visitor, he found that the battle was still a difficult one. Footsteps tapping along the waxed linoleum caught his attention and he stood up. Carly and Dr. Joe Scanlon rounded the corner, heading towards Virginia Benson's room that was directly behind him.

"I don't understand why you can't be more specific," Carly was saying as she and the doctor stopped in front of Jason. "I have the right to know the truth about my mother's condition."

"No one's trying to impede on your rights, Miss Benson," Joe said through clenched teeth. "Strokes are unpredictable. Any information I give you would not be specific or necessarily accurate. If you would allow me, I will examine her again and have a better idea of her prognosis."

"So there's nothing you can tell her?" Jason asked, reaching out to grab Joe's upper arm.

The doctor looked at Jason's hand before slowly raising his darkened gaze to Jason's eyes. Jason dropped his hand and stuffed it inside the front pocket of his jeans. Without answering him, Joe disappeared inside Virginia's room and closed the door firmly behind him.

"Do something, Jase!" Carly demanded, pouncing on him as soon as the door closed. She threw her arms around him and rested her head on his chest. "I'm so scared. Make them tell me what's going on."

Distracted by the doctor's reaction to him, Jason barely noticed that Carly had propelled herself into his arms. When he did notice, he stroked her hair for a few seconds and then guided her to the waiting room. Once she was seated, he squatted in front of her. "You heard him. We have to wait. He can't tell you what he doesn't know."

"That's not good enough," Carly whined. "I want her to have the best care. I don't trust that guy. He's just an intern anyway. Make them get someone else. Please, Jase."

"Carly," he said with a deep sigh, "wait and see what he says. When I go back to the penthouse, I'll give Monica a call and ask her to check on Virginia."

He rose to stand and Carly grabbed his hand. "Wait," she cried. "You can't just leave me here alone."

"I've been here all night," he explained as he pulled hand free. "I need to check on Michael and then I have plans for later. You'll be okay."

"But I'll be alone."

Jason shrugged. "Call someone and ask them to come sit with you."

"Who?" she asked. "You're my best friend. I'd think you would want to stay here with me."

"I did stay with you, and now, I'm leaving. You'll be all right. Call one of your friends-"

"I can't believe you're walking out of here. My mother had a stroke-"

"Yes," he said, all of his patience gone. "She did and while you're sitting here waiting for that doctor to talk to you again, think about why she had the stroke in the first place."

Carly stiffened. "It's not my fault!"

"Right," he bit out. "She finds out that you've been using a dead girl's name for the past two years and doing all kinds of things to Bobbie, not to mention that you have child...and none of this is your fault. That's so logical, Carly."

"I didn't ask her to come here," she defended herself. "If she had stayed in Florida, she would have been fine!"

"So, now the stroke is her fault?" Jason questioned. "Give it a rest." He moved to the doorway and turned back to her. "I will be unavailable the rest of the day. If something happens, call Johnny. He'll know how to reach me."


The morning spent with Nikolas had been fun. The blanket of snow that covered Spoon Island had proven to be a playground for the young pair. Snow ball fights followed by a restful turn at making snow angels worked magic for them. The months of separation were forgotten. The two played, hugged and kissed like they had never been apart. Nikolas' speech was not as clear as he would have liked, but they had no problems communicating. The looks that passed between them spoke volumes.


She paused at the sound of his voice and the tug of his hand. He pulled her inside the stables and promptly closed the door. His arms closed around her while his mouth descended on hers.

His kiss like his touch was intoxicating. His large, insistent hands pushed inside the opening of her coat to roam voraciously over her body. Everywhere he touched, her nerve endings tingled. Dawn pressed against him, savoring his caresses as much as she savored his taste, smell and moans of pleasure.

Time stood still as their passion soared. Their hearts pounded erratically and their breathing became uneven and ragged. Slowly, Dawn pulled away. Dizzy from his drugging kisses, she clung to him until she could collect her wits. The effect he had over her was overwhelming and addictive. If they didn't dampen the flames soon, there was no doubt that there would be no turning back. She wouldn't have the ability to resist him.

"Dawn," he murmured again, his breath soft against her ear. He held onto her tightly. "Magical."

"It is," she agreed in a breathy whisper. "It's wonderful. I didn't think it would feel like this or I'd ever feel like this. I feel like I'm floating, like we're floating. I do not ever want to touch ground."

"Don't," he advised. "Me stay forever."

He grumbled when the words didn't come out right. Dawn leaned back to look at him, lightly pressing her fingers against his mouth. "It's okay. The words will come. Patience remember?"

"!" He shook his head, vehemently denying that he had the capacity for patience. Cupping her face between his warm palms, his dark brown eyes told her the rest. Life was too unpredictable for patience. He wanted it all now. He wanted her. Now.

She inhaled sharply as a brief shiver rippled through her. The look in his eyes was primal, seductive. The ache for release burned inside of her. But she couldn't succumb to it. Not yet. Stepping out of his arms, she reached for his hands. "I don't want to be patient either, but we have least for a little while. I have an engagement this afternoon, remember? I mustn't be late."

"Where?" Nikolas demanded, his voice still husky with desire. His dark eyes penetrated hers, searching her for any secrets and promising to solve her mysteries. "I go, too."

Swallowing hard, she had to avert her eyes. His magnetism was pulling her in like a fly to a spider's web. The more she struggled to meet him head on, the more the intensity of his gaze enticed her. His affect on her senses was maddening. "Nikolai, you cannot come with me. I will not be gone for long. I promise. Later, we can my quarters."

"Why not go?" he asked again. He placed his fingers underneath her chin, tilting her face so that it was impossible for her to look away.

"You just can't."

He released a harsh breath at her refusal and she knew that frustration and anger mingled with his desire for her. For a fleeting moment, she considered telling him the truth. Her meeting with Jason later for the AIDS benefit had been planned as a small steps towards avenging Nikolas' unfortunate accident. But instead of making that important step, she had decided to leave it and Jason's punishment for a higher authority. She told him the truth. When she returned to Wyndemere, she was coming back to him. And since she couldn't tell him any of the rest, he would have to be patient as he didn't have a choice in the manner. Neither of them did.

His ire faded and his features softened. Leaning towards her, he rested his forehead against hers. "Come back soon. Please."

"I will," Dawn promised, sealing the vow with a soft kiss upon his lips. I will come back to you.

General Hospital and Port Charles ©ABC
Wiseguy © Stephen J. Cannell Productions
Magnum, PI © Universal Studios
Spenser: For Hire © ABC
The Right Way(and all original characters) ©2000 niklovr
All Rights Reserved

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