Chapter 28

"Thank you for the tour." Lynn smiled at TC as they walked side by side from his helicopter back to the estate. From a distance, they could see that Rick and Higgins were waiting for them on the patio. A table had been set for lunch and the smell of pineapples and roasted pork drifted back to them. "Something smells delicious."

"Yeah," TC agreed. "I'm glad you liked it up there. Some people get a little tense at first, but for me, there's no place I'd rather be."

"I wasn't afraid. I really enjoyed myself. You know a lot about the island. Its history and its people. I'm sure your clients must love the tours you give them. I'd love for Tommy to see everything you've shown me."

"He will." TC smiled. He took her elbow as they ascended the steps to the patio. "When he and Thomas get back, I'll take you both on a tour."

Lynn shook her head. "I couldn't ask you to do that. I'm not sure how I'll be able to pay you for this one."

"I didn't ask for payment," he told her. "Consider it my treat."

TC pulled out a chair for her and she sat down. He took the seat beside her and Rick sat on the other side so that she was in the middle. Higgins sat across from them and began to fill everyone's plates with food.

"What treat?" Rick asked, giving Lynn all of his attention.

"It's nothing really-"

"TC, it's a lot more than that!" Lynn said. "He offered to give Tommy and me another tour after Thomas brings him to the island. Isn't that nice of him?"

Looking past her to TC, Rick smirked. "I'll say. He's usually not so generous with his tours."

"In special circumstances, I am," TC countered.

"Gentlemen, please," Higgins interrupted. "I'm quite sure that Lynn would rather not witness another round of your juvenile bickering." He smiled at Lynn as he set a plate in front of her. "These dishes are native to the Island. I trust that you will find them to your liking."

"Thank you," she said, picking up a knife and a fork. As she began to dig in, she added, "I was telling TC that it all smelled delicious."

"Do you really think so?" Rick asked, beaming with pride. "I made all of this. I hope you enjoy it. Eat up 'cause there's plenty."

Lynn laughed as TC rolled his eyes and grumbled. She sliced a piece of pork and raised it to her lips. The meat was tender and flavorful. She told Rick, "It's wonderful. Thanks, Rick. I didn't realize you're a chef."

"He's not," Higgins and TC said simultaneously.

Rick frowned at both of them before giving Lynn a wide smile. "I'm not a professional or nothing like that. I just like to mess around in the kitchen. I find it relaxing. What do you like to do to relax?"

"I find that hardly any of your business," Higgins scolded.

"I'm just making conversation, Higgins," Rick retorted. "Not everyone plays with toy bridges and cannons, you know."

"They are not toys," Higgins ground out. "They are replicas and I hardly play with them. The proper term is re-enactment-"

"Gentlemen, please." This time the voice of reason belonged to TC. "Lynn doesn't want to hear you two go at it. Now, about the tour for you and Tommy, when they return, just give me a day you'd like to go out and I'll adjust my schedule. Okay?"

"Sure. Thank you very much."

The cordless telephone beside Higgins rang. He answered it and with a smile, he handed it to Lynn. "This is for you."

"For me?" she repeated, curiously. She took the receiver and raised it to her ear. "Hello?"

"Hi, Lynn." Tommy's voice was warm and tender as it came across the airwaves. His smile beamed through the line and he kindly asked, "How are you?"

"I'm wonderful now," she gasped, hardly able to believe that she was hearing his voice again. "Are you okay? Is it safe to talk?"

"It's fine. I'm fine. I've been worried about you, but I feel better now that I've heard your voice," Tommy told her. "Are you sure that you're okay? You haven't heard anything from Mancusi or anything, right?"

"I haven't heard anything from him," she assured him. She looked around the table and was surprised that she was now alone. It was nice of them to give her some privacy. Inhaling the scent of the nearby orchids, as well as the lunch that Rick had prepared, she was saddened that Tommy wasn't there to share it with her. Hearing his voice helped, but if he was there, it would have been so much better.

"There's been an incident here-"

"With Bobby? You told me that you were fine!"

"I am fine," he promised. "I haven't seen or heard from Bobby or any of his thugs. Thomas thinks that we should be careful about my return trip with him and I agree. But I wasn't talking about me just now. Today, a clinic was being dedicated and a young woman was hurt and a known hit man was killed. Lynn, I got so scared thinking that your life could be as dangerous as that. Mancusi will have to be taken care of or you will never be safe."

"Tommy, no!" she cried. "I don't want you going after him. You can't. You have no idea what a man like that is capable of. He's not normal, Tommy. Neither is my uncle, but Bobby is worse than that. He has hang-ups about his father and his brother."

"What kind of hang-ups?" Tommy questioned.

"He's been in that life since he was born. His father has been training him to be his successor. If he married me, he'd get control over everything. I'm not sure what that all means, but I overheard his father telling him that once. Anyway, years ago his father ordered him to kill his brother and he did or he tried to. It's rumored that Eric didn't die, but was hurt pretty bad and is in hiding. Do you see what I mean? You can't go after a man who'd kill his own brother! He'd do much worse to you. Please, don't. Just come back with Thomas or maybe it'd be better if we just said our goodbyes now-"

"NO! I'm not giving up on us that easily," he said. "I love you, Lynn. I'm gonna see that we are together."

"I love you, too, but I don't want anything to happen to you," she said.

"Nothing will," he vowed. "Flea was telling me that Thomas worked in Navy Intelligence before he retired. She says that he's good at what he does and I believe her. We'll find a way to put an end to this. Just don't give up, okay?"

"I won't," she whispered. "Promise me you'll be careful."

"I promise."


Thomas sat on the floor in front of Felicia's 32-inch television, staring intently at the muted broadcast of the local news. Since Tommy had been on the telephone, he had seen several rebroadcasts of the happenings on the dock. Now, he wanted to see it from a non-biased point of view, preferring to use his instincts to gather information from the crime scene that the news reporters didn't have the experience or the intelligence to notice.

"Notice anything new?" Felicia asked as she sat beside him on the floor. She curled her legs underneath her into an impossible yoga position, which caused Thomas to cringe. She jokingly punched his arm and handed him a Coke.

"A few things, Flea," he teased with a dimpled grin. He pulled the tab off the can and enjoyed the first swallow of the ice-cold beverage. The liquid tingled as it slid down his throat and he couldn't help but sigh.

"What things?" she asked. "I've been watching this all afternoon and nothing has stood out for me."

Thomas cradled the can in the palms of his hands. "Tsk, tsk, tsk," he said, shaking his head. "An ace investigator's eyes are trained to pick up on the minute details that can make or break a case, Flea."

"Now, cut that out," she warned him. "I'm serious, Thomas. What did you see?"

"The blonde guy with the crew cut is Jason Morgan, right?" He reached for a brownie and chewed as she answered him.

"Yeah, that's Jason. He's the one Patroni was after."

"Wrong." Thomas shook his head again. "Patroni wasn't after Morgan."

"And you know this because?" she asked, her tone echoing of disbelief.

"I know because I'm paying attention," he told her, mildly offended by her tone. "On this broadcast, they aired what happened before Patroni made his move. Look at this shot." He pushed play on the remote control for Felicia's VCR. "See. The young woman is with Jason here. He's showing her to his seat and now he's going up to the platform. Morgan was nowhere near her when Patroni jumped out with his knife. Patroni went after the young lady because she was the intended target."

"So are you saying that this wasn't a mob hit?" she asked.

"No," he shook his head again. "I'm not saying that. What I'm saying is that it's possible that Patroni went after the girl to get to Morgan. I have a friend who can look up Patroni for me. When Tommy gets off the phone, I'll give him a call. Do you have any contacts at the station?"

"My ex-husband is the commissioner-"

"Great!" Thomas beamed. "That's wonderful. After I call Rick, you can call him-"

"Now, wait a minute," she shook her head as she rose to her feet. "I can't call Mac. He wouldn't give me any information."

Uh-oh. "Oh, so things ended badly between you?" Thomas asked. He stood up and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. "I'm sorry about that. I can understand why you wouldn't want to talk to him."

"An ace investigator doesn't jump to conclusions!" she informed him, pulling herself from his partial embrace. "I didn't say that things ended badly. It's just that when it comes to the organization he's very protective. His most important goal is to bring it down. Also, he wouldn't tell me because he wouldn't me to get involved. He thinks I'd put myself in danger and wouldn't be here for the girls."

"He has a point about that," he agreed. "This could get hairy. I don't want you to put yourself in any danger."

"I don't intend to," Felicia told him. She pulled a card from the back pocket of her jeans. She grabbed a pen from the coffee table and scribbled on the back of the card. When she was done, she handed the card to Thomas. "This is Mac's private number. Give him a call and see what happens. If he doesn't think I'm involved, he'll be more apt to help you."

"Thanks." Thomas smiled as he took the card from her. He glanced at it and then frowned. "Scorpio?" He giggled as he put the card inside his wallet and slid it back into his jeans' back pocket. "Scorpio?"

"It's not that funny," she scolded as he doubled over in laughter.

"A flea and a scorpion," he chuckled. "I can see how that didn't work."

She jabbed his midsection with a hard punch.

"Ow!" he mumbled amid his chuckles. When she only glared at him, he quickly sobered. "I'm sorry, Felicia. I was out of line."

She continued to stare at him for another beat then she laughed, too. "When you say it like that, it is actually funny. We didn't work out for other reasons and speaking of romance and all of that jazz, how's your love life?"

"I can't complain." He exhaled a long sigh of contentment.

"So you've met someone?" she asked. "Is it serious?"

"I like her. She likes me. We're both serious about that."

"What's her name?" Felicia asked.

"Her name is Jolie and that's about all I'm gonna say." He sat down on the sofa and grabbed another brownie.

She nodded at him knowingly. "You don't want to jinx it."

"Jinx it?" he asked, his voice rising an octave. He opened his mouth to say more. He clearly needed to defend himself on this one, but then he saw it. The twinkle in her blue eyes gave her away and he snapped his mouth shut. He chewed thoughtfully on the brownie for a moment and then he said, "Tell me about Jason Morgan."

"Oh, Thomas. That's so sweet." She joined him on the sofa and gave his hand a friendly pat. "I hope that Jolie knows how special you are and I hope that you remember not to take her for granted-"

"I never take anyone for granted!"

Heat flooded Thomas' face and Felicia laughed. "Oh, pooh! No more talk about that. We don't want to jinx it," she teased. "Now as for Jason Morgan...he was Jason Quartermaine until he was hurt in a car crash. He lost his memory and re-invented himself as Jason Morgan. Soon after, he became involved with Sonny Corinthos who ran the docks and left Jason in charge when he stood his fiancee up a few months ago."

"Was that the Cliff Notes version?" he asked.

"Yes," she said. "Now, sit back and I'll give you what I know about him personally. You may wanna ask Rick about his professional exploits...maybe see what he can find out."

"Thanks." Thomas smiled. "I hadn't thought of that."

She smiled as she patted his hand. "It's okay. Ace private investigators aren't expected to think of everything."


"Hi, Ellen." Matt opened his eyes with a smile on his face.

"How did you know it was me?" she asked, frowning. "You were asleep."

"Your perfume gave you away," he told her.

"I'm not wearing any today."

Matt's smile widened. "I know."

Ellen averted her eyes from his steady gaze. She went to the windows, taking her time as she closed the blinds to the darkening sky. Matt watched her movements and committed each of them to memory. The room became dark and intimate. His heart pounded in anticipation even though his mind reminded him that their surroundings were far from romantic. On its own volition, his hand reached for the lamp on the nightstand beside his bed. He pulled once on the cord and soft light brought a warm glow to the room.

With better lighting, he could see that something troubled Ellen. His brown eyes bored into her profile as he asked, "What's wrong?"

"There's such a thing as too observant," she replied with a faint smile.

"I can't help it," he said. "You have that effect on me. Has something happened that I should know about?"

She glanced at the door and then back at him before she answered. "There was a mob related incident on the docks today. A young woman was stabbed and the man who did it was shot and killed."

"He chose that life," Matt said with a shrug. "How's the girl? Will she live?"

"It's hard to say," Ellen informed him. "She lost a good deal of blood. She's in surgery now. We'll know as soon as Dr. Quartermaine finishes it."

"Dr. Monica Quartermaine?" he asked. "Why not Boardman?"

"Stefan Cassadine requested her personally. It appears that he knows the young woman who was hurt. His nephew carried her in here, screaming at the top of his lungs. I don't think I'll ever forget it."

"He must care about her very much," Matt said quietly. He extended his hand to Ellen. "Tell me what's wrong."

Sliding her hand in his, she sat on the edge of his bed. "After what happened to you, I couldn't help but wonder if it's all related. What if they attacked her to draw you out?"

Matt squeezed her hand and raised it to his lips. Even with the bandages covering most of his face, he was able to place a decent kiss on the back of her soft, brown hand. He kept it pressed against his lips longer than necessary and then set it down on the bed again and continued to hold it. "They don't know where I am, but it means a lot that you care, Ellen."

Dimples flashed in her cheeks as she smiled faintly. "Of course, I care," she murmured softly. "Are you sure about that? They were able to get to you once."

"If they knew were I am, they would have gotten to me already. As long as my injuries aren't clearly defined in the hospital's database, I'll be fine. They won't have a clue. Soon, I'll be well enough to be discharged and it won't matter anymore anyway, right?"



Sucking up to the Cassadines was hard work and very draining. Normally, Chris would have welcomed the opportunity to go into surgery especially with Dr. Monica Quartermaine, but the glint in both of the Cassadines eyes warned him to pass on that gravy train. There would be other rides offered that'd showcase his talents and make him a shoo-in for the Quartermaine Fellowship. Besides if the girl died, he didn't want to be anywhere near Nikolas Cassadine. Sure, he was a kid, but he wasn't exactly like any kid Chris had ever met. Rage burned inside the teenager and Chris didn't want any of it unleashed on him.

Despite the manpower that patrolled the ER, it all worked to his advantage. He was able to steal away without anyone noticing. He figured that he'd be able to go home, do a little online research and slip back without Dr. Burgess or anyone else being the wiser.

The icy streets weren't much of a challenge for Chris and he made it back to his stylish apartment in record time. Tossing his wool trench coat onto the sofa, he grabbed his laptop and strode to the dining room table. He quickly plugged in the necessary cords and was online within five minutes.

The key to online research was in the keyboard. A person needed to type in the right combination to get the desired results the first time. Otherwise, he'd have to sit there forever, typing and typing.

Chris entered the phrase that gave him what he wanted. A listing of articles came up and he selected the third one down.


Once again, what he was after was right there. Of course, he couldn't be sure that Matt Harmon was the witness that had been fired upon in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, but his gut never steered him wrong. Chris had suspected the guy the first time he met him. No one could be that perfect. Chris smiled, reading the evidence that proved he was right.

Just to cover his bases, he did a search on Mancusi. Even more information flashed before his eyes. Everything fit into place and Chris couldn't have been happier. With a little note mailed out to Sal Mancusi of Philadelphia, PA, his only real competition for the Quartermaine Fellowship would have too much on his mind to even be considered a contender. And then everything Chris wanted would be his.

"It doesn't get any better than this."

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