Chapter 29

"She's gone, man. Her bastard shows up and everything goes to hell."

Robert's stomach twisted at the sight of Luke wallowing in self-pity and whiskey. Father Time had done a number on his old pal. The fighter instinct was gone. Bitterness had replaced it and had turned Spencer into a man Robert didn't recognize. And a man he didn't like.

"Did you hear me, old buddy, old pal?" Luke asked, faintly slurring his words. "She took my little girl and she split."

"Why didn't you go after her?" Robert questioned. He grabbed the almost empty bottle of booze and twisted the cap back on tight. He felt Luke's eyes boring into his back as he set the bottle on the highest shelf far out of reach. "Ask her to come back home?"

Luke huffed. "She wouldn't have listened to me. She did before that bastard showed up. Now, she only listens when it suits her."

"That doesn't sound like the Laura I know," Robert commented as he sat down in a vacant chair in front of Luke's desk. He laced his fingers together while he watched Luke try several times before he successfully lit his cigar. When the fumes filled the air, Robert wished that his friend hadn't been so successful.

"She's changed a lot. She's not the Laura I know either," Luke advised. He took a few puffs of the cigar before he spoke again. "You gonna tell me what happened on that boat? Or are we gonna keep pretending like you just returned from getting a pack of smokes?"

Robert's jaw tightened. He didn't want to speak about that time or remember it. Luke and the others were guaranteed to question him, but deep in the pit of his belly, he'd hope that they'd let sleeping dogs lie. He should have known better. "You know what happened, Luke. Faison blew it up with Anna and me onboard."

"You survived."

"Very astute of you to notice," Robert replied, masking his pain with dry humor. He looked down at his fingers that were now clenched together. Sighing deeply, he continued. "Anna's gone. For her, the blast was fatal. Faison survived and fared better than I which enabled him to make me his captor."

"So, the SOB lived?" Luke questioned. The effect of the alcohol slowed his reactions but not his reasoning.

"He still lives," Robert informed him. "By some strange miracle, I escaped and here I am."

"Have you seen Robin? She's all grown up now. Your kid brother did good by her."

Robert nodded, smiling as he thought of his daughter. "I've seen her, but she hasn't seen me. Mac has made me proud. I hear he's Commissioner."

"Following in his brother's footsteps," Luke smirked before he puffed on the cigar again.

"How's Lucky? Is he on the political track? Will he be mayor and follow in your footsteps?"

Luke shrugged even as his blue eyes beamed with pride. "He's a good kid. Smart with good instincts. I don't know about mayor. He's gotta play around a bit first. You know, test the waters."

Robert smiled faintly. "Like father, like son I presume."



When Sonny left Carly at the penthouse, he had only one destination in mind. Dara's.

He had to make sure she was safe. The bodyguards could have done it, but he couldn't trust them to be as thorough as he needed them to be. Of course, there was no indication that she wouldn't be safe or in any danger. As far as he knew, no one knew about their week in Hawaii. She hadn't told Scorpio and he hadn't breathed a word to a soul either. It was private. Special. He couldn't have shared it with anyone. Not even Jason. Even if he wanted to. And he didn't.

He was probably being overly cautious. If no one knew about their rendezvous under the sheets, then why go check up on her? Well, maybe someone saw him sneak up to her place. Maybe someone guessed that he cared. He was careful, but he wasn't invisible. He could have been spotted and he could have inadvertently put her in danger. Before he could get his head on right to think straight, he had to be sure.

The Porsche rolled to a stop on the opposite side of the street from where Dara resided. Whipping out his cell phone, he dialed her number. Her answering machine clicked on and he abruptly ended the call. Maybe she wasn't home. He'd sit, wait and watch a while. If nothing happened by dinnertime, he was going in.

Behind the tinted windows of the sports car, Sonny watched the traffic in and around the neighborhood. So far nothing seemed amiss. He could probably drive off, confident that she wouldn't have a problem. But he couldn't turn the ignition key. Not without a glimpse of her. Once he got a glimpse of her, saw that she was okay, he'd leave. Yeah. Then, he'd leave.

A little over an hour later, Dara appeared. She parallel parked her Acura in a space right in front of her building. Silky brown legs slipped from the open door of the sleek automobile and then the rest of her followed. Brown, suede pumps covered her feet and matched the brown, suede calf-length coat she wore. Her short dark hair ruffled against her round face as an evening breeze blew. She casually brushed it aside as she closed the door, set the alarm and disappeared up the walk into the building. Once she was out of sight, Sonny released the air he'd been holding and willed his heartbeat to return to normal.

The bargain he'd made with himself didn't stick. He didn't turn the ignition key. He didn't leave. Since she was home, it was probably a good idea to sit and watch a little longer. He had to make sure that she wasn't followed, right?

The lights in her apartment blinked on. Her shadow bustled around the apartment and Sonny watched closely. He imagined that she'd get dinner started while she ran a bath. As the potatoes boiled and the chicken baked, she'd slip inside the jasmine-scented water. Soapsuds would strategically cover her while she relaxed. A little while later, she'd rise. Dripping wet, she'd stand in the middle of her bathroom. Rivulets of water would slide over her nude form-

"Dammit!" Sonny brought an abrupt end to his fantasies with a muffled curse. He knew better than to fall into that trap. All of the blood would flow down instead of up to his head, which was where he needed it the most. "Get a grip, man. Focus."

Seconds later, he realized that his fantasies weren't based in reality. With an overnight bag in her hand, Dara returned to her car. She tossed the bag into the passenger seat before she roared off into the night. Curiosity got the best of him and he followed her. Besides, he just wanted to make sure she got where she was going safely and without any hassles. Right?

The drive was quick and Dara led him to a residential area. She pulled into the driveway, as if she owned the place. A muscle quivered at his jaw and mouth thinned into a tight, grim line. He recognized the house. It was Scorpio's. Annoyed, Sonny gunned the accelerator and roared off into the night.


Mac absently tapped his pen onto the wooden table top as he met Jason's unwavering stare. Without emotion, he asked, "You want out of here, don't you?"

Jason's response was to maintain the stare. He didn't move. He didn't blink. He only stared. Mac vaguely wondered if the younger man was human.

"Nothing to say?" Mac asked, interrupting the silence again. "You had plenty to say when Taggert locked you inside your cage. Now that you have some freedom, you suffer from laryngitis. Cute trick, Jason. Your owner must be so proud."

Jason sat very still.

"I guess it makes sense that the puppet doesn't have anything to say when no one's around to pull his strings," Mac commented. "If this gig doesn't work out, I bet you could find a spot on Sesame Street. Puppets do well there."

Jason didn't move.

Mac sighed deeply. "Still nothing to say? No feelings. Nothing. I bet you don't even care about the girl and the stabbing she took because of you. She could die because of you-"


Mac sat up straight and leaned forward. Arching his eyebrows, he asked, "What? You've got something to say now? Don't what? Huh?"

Jason's jaw clenched. His hands balled into fists and he stiffened. His ice blue eyes seemed glassy as they glared at Mac. Other than that, he showed no reaction at all.

The chair screeched across the tiled floor as Mac abruptly stood and threw his pen across the room. "That did it. I know you're not human!"

He slammed out of the conference room. Five minutes later, Justus quietly entered. "You're being released. They don't have any grounds to hold you and soon you'll be free."

Jason rose from the chair and faced his cousin. "Thanks, Justus."

"It's what lawyers do," Justus replied. Jason nodded in agreement and moved towards the door. Justus called out to him, bringing him to a stop. "Jason, what happened out there today?"

"I don't know. I never saw Patroni coming. Then, he was there."

Justus nodded slowly. "And the girl? Was she an innocent bystander?"

His face became hard as he slowly shook his head. In a hoarse, tight voice, Jason answered, "Not exactly. She was with me. Patroni attacked her to get to me."


Jason frowned. "Justus, I don't have time for this-"

"Why, Jason? Why was Patroni after you?" Justus asked, his anger building as he maintained a cool facade of calm. Softly, he asked, "Did you know that Patroni and the men he worked for were a threat?"

"I don't know why!" Jason nearly shouted. "In this business, there are always threats. If not Patroni, it could have been someone else."

"And did the girl know? Had she any idea what danger you put her in?"

"That's not fair, Justus! I always had guards for her. Always," Jason defended.

"I guess it's too bad for her that they weren't fast enough this time, huh?" Justus asked with a sneer. "That was the last time I pull you out of jail. The rose-colored glasses are gone and the game is over. From now on, call another patsy. This one can't stomach the fallout any more. "


The Port Charles Grill dinner crowd moved around Jax as he stood near the entrance to the restaurant. With a cell phone pressed to his ear, he didn't really care or notice. More urgent matters demanded his attention at the moment.

"So, he didn't believe you?" he asked Alexis. "Did you think he would?"

"I hoped," she answered. "He knows how unstable Helena is. He'd be stupid to ignore what I've told him."

"Did you tell him that?" Jax asked. "Did you tell him he was stupid?"

"It's not funny," she scolded as he began to laugh. "He needs to be careful."

Jax's laughter faded and he became serious again. "You really care about him, don't you?"

"I love him," she simply answered.

Nodding, Jax understood the sentiment. He'd loved before. He knew how important it made things like danger and threats seem. "Would it help if I spoke with him? We've mingled in the same circles a few times. Maybe if I said something to him..."

"Thanks, but I'd rather you didn't," Alexis replied. "I'll talk to him again later. Sooner or later, he'll listen."

"Okay. If there's anything else, give me a call."

"I will. Goodnight, Jax."


He turned the cell phone off and snapped it onto his belt buckled. Wearing a navy blue Armani suit, a number of flirtatious feminine eyes flew to him as he strode to the Maitre' D.

"Good evening, Mr. Jacks. A table for one or...?"

"For one-" Jax began until a lone figure, sitting at a table in the back caught his attention. He quickly changed his mind and said, "Never mind. I'll be joining someone. Thank you."

Anticipation energized Jax as he moved towards the back table. A slow smile came to his lips and screaming of warmth and charm, he murmured softly, "We meet again, and thank you. I'd love to join you for dinner."

Brown eyes looked at him in first surprise and then delight. She tried to mask the delight by averting her eyes, but Jax didn't miss it. His smile broadened into a grin.

"Inviting oneself to dinner reeks of desperation, doesn't it?" she inquired with a cool smile. She closed the folder she had been reviewing and slid it inside her briefcase that rested on the floor beside her feet.

"And all work and no play makes..."

"Pamela," she supplied his name for her when he hesitated.

"Pamela," he murmured, savoring the moment. "All work and no play makes Pamela a dull girl. Wouldn't you enjoy a dinner guest who could wipe the worries from your brow and in turn, provide you with stimulating conversation and an enjoyable evening?"

"Well..." she began slowly, "when you put it that way, the offer certainly sounds intriguing. Do you know where I could find such a dinner guest?"

Spreading his arms wide in a grand gesture, he said, "Your Prince has arrived."

"Ah, the fairy tale again."

"Complete with everyone living happily ever after," he said as he reached across the table and took her hand. Turning her hand over, he placed a slow, sensual kiss into the palm of her hand. When Jax raised his head, he found that her eyes glowed with desire. A white, hot flame coursed through him in response and he found himself hoping that the night would never end.

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) ©2000-2001 niklovr
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