The Cost of Information
"Nice digs," Spenser said after inspecting the 3-bedroom suite that Quentin had gotten for them at the Port Charles Hotel. He sat down on the black leather sofa, spread out his arms and sighed. "Very nice."
"Digs?" Hawk repeated. "That went out with the Stone Age, babe."
Quentin shook his head as Spenser shrugged. While Hawk reviewed the menu and ordered room service for them, Quentin pulled out his cell phone. Looking at Spenser, he asked, "What's up? Are you gonna swing by your friend's place or do you wanna go with me to see my little girl?"
"I thought I'd swing by Felicia's place. Check in with her. Give me the address and I'll stop by a little later," Spenser answered.
Quentin looked at Hawk as the other man finished his call to room service. "You?"
"I'm with you," Hawk replied. "I can't wait to see Miss Fine Christofides."
Quentin grunted and both of his friends laughed.
"What did you order?" Spenser asked, rubbing his stomach in anticipation. "The peanuts on the plane didn't even hit the spot. I'm famished."
"Famished?" Hawk repeated. "The man's famished. I guess hungry or starving just wouldn't do."
"Not even close."
"The Hotel is tight," Hawk complimented. "Porterhouse steak, garlic mashed potatoes and wine are on the way."
Spenser smiled. "Yum! If you gents need me, I will be in the lavatory. I shall return shortly."
After Spenser left them alone, Quentin chuckled. "A private cop? That man should have been a professor. It's good to see that some things never change."
"Indeed," Hawk agreed. "So, babe, make the call."
Quentin had almost forgotten about the phone in his hand. He moved to stand in the window while he dialed Carlotta's private line at Wyndemere. Her recorded voice answered the phone and he left a brief message. He then dialed her cell phone. She answered on the third ring. Her greeting sounded tired and upset which immediately alarmed him. "What's wrong?"
"Quentin?" she asked.
"Yeah, it's me. What's going on? You don't sound so hot."
"I meant to call you, but everything's been so crazy," Carlotta explained. "Are you in Port Charles?"
"Yeah, I'm here. Now, tell me what's gotten you upset. Is it Dawn?" he asked quietly.
There was a brief pause before Carlotta answered him. "Yes, she's in surgery. We don't know..."
"What?!" Quentin shrieked. His hand squeezed the phone. His heart thudded wildly in his chest. "Why is she in surgery?"
At Quentin's shriek, Hawk turned his dark, inquisitive eyes toward Quentin. He became still as he listened.
"She was stabbed-"
"STABBED?!" he repeated. "Somebody stabbed my daughter? Where the hell was Terranova? I'm not paying him to clean his damned nails! He's supposed to be protecting her."
Hawk moved then. He went inside Spenser's bedroom and knocked on the closed bathroom door. "Spensssah! Time to roll."
"She's in critical, but stable condition," Monica announced to the trio who stood before her. She offered Carlotta an encouraging smile as she said, "Your daughter is a fighter. She lost a good deal of blood and thanks to Nikolas, this didn't pose as too much of a problem. Her appendix was severely damaged by the knife wound and we had no choice but to remove it."
"Can I see her now?" Carlotta asked.
"She's still unconscious, but yes, you may see her." Monica looked at Stefan and Nikolas. "I'm sure that you both are anxious to see her, too. But please, one at a time. Even if she isn't awake, she can sense your presence. She doesn't need to be over-tired. Especially not right after surgery."
"Thank you, Dr. Quartermaine," Stefan said quietly before the surgeon left them alone. He turned to the anxious mother. "We will wait for you here."
She took his hand and squeezed. "Thanks. Quentin is on his way. Please, show him where her room is."
Stefan nodded. "Of course."
Carlotta went to Nikolas. She cupped his face between the palms of her hands. "Thank you so much for what you did today." She gently kissed his cheek and then followed the attending nurse to Dawn's room in ICU.
"I wish I could have done more," Nikolas whispered after Carlotta walked away. "If I had been faster..."
"You accomplished a great deal by responding quickly," Stefan told him. "I am proud of you. You should be proud of yourself, too."
"Excuse me," a soft voice interrupted their conversation. "I'd like to speak with Nikolas and you, too, Mr. Cassadine."
"Miss Ward, as you can see now is not a good time."
"Actually, Mr. Cassadine, I'm Officer Ward." Keesha pulled out her wallet and showed them her badge. While she placed it back inside her purse, she continued to speak, "I am very sorry about what happened to Miss Hunter, but there are a few questions I need to ask you both."
"Do you people not understand that there is a time and a place for such matters?" Stefan questioned. "Her mother was allowed to see her just moments ago."
Keesha nodded. "I am aware of that which is why I waited until she left to approach you. I will speak to her later, but definitely not now."
"You will wait-"
"Uncle," Nikolas interjected, "please. She's only doing her job. What is that you want to ask?"
Keesha smiled her thanks to Nikolas and pulled out her notepad and pen. She took notes as she questioned them. "Are either of you aware that the man who attacked Dawn worked for organized crime?"
"No," Stefan said, answering for both of them.
"The gun that was used to shoot him is missing. Nikolas, do you know anything about that?"
"This is preposterous!"
"Uncle, please." Nikolas drew in a long breath. Shaking his head, he said, "No, Keesha. I don't know anything about a gun. I didn't see one. I only heard the shots."
"Dawn didn't have the gun on her person when you carried her off the docks?" Keesha asked.
"No. If she did, I wasn't aware of it," he told her. "There was so much blood and when she fainted, the only thing that mattered to me was getting her out of there. I didn't look for a gun or even see the knife that hurt her. I just wanted to help her."
She nodded and gave him a faint smile. "I take it that you and she are very close."
"I can hardly see how this matters to you or your department," Stefan interrupted again before Nikolas could respond. "He's answered your questions about the gun. Now, leave us. Please."
"Mr. Cassadine, I am aware that you don't understand how this relates, but I assure that this question is very important." She focused her attention on Nikolas. "If I am upsetting you, I apologize, but I don't really have a choice. There is a strong possibility that she may still be in danger, and judging from the number of bodyguards you've assembled around her, I'd say that you feel the same. I'm trying to help-"
"Keesha," Nikolas said, "you don't have to convince me. Dawn and I are close. In addition to being my closest friend, we are also romantically involved."
She swallowed hard and frowned. She glanced at Stefan for a brief moment before looking at Nikolas again. "How long have you been romantically involved? Has it been since her arrival here in Port Charles or before?"
"We were engaged before she came here and I broke it off," Nikolas answered. "Last night, we decided that being apart was a mistake."
"I see," Keesha murmured. "Nikolas, are you aware of her involvement with Jason Morgan?"
"What?" he asked, his voice rising in surprise.
"This is ridiculous," Stefan said. "Dawn would not involve herself with someone of that caliber. She does not associate in the circles that a man like that is privy to."
"She was involved with him. She went to the dedication ceremony with him," she continued, ignoring Stefan. "Patroni's attack on her was an attempt to control Jason. Are you sure that you know nothing about the time she's spent with Jason?"
"I thought I saw him speak to her before the ceremony began, but I didn't know that they were spending time together," he said quietly, "She never mentioned anything to me or acted as if...there was someone else."
"I think you've said enough, Officer Ward," Stefan stated. "As you can see, my nephew is ignorant of anything that has to do with Jason Morgan-"
"Then, it is true that neither he nor you are aware that Dawn might have become involved with Jason because of what happened to Nikolas in December?" Keesha asked. "She didn't say anything to either of you, is that correct?"
Nikolas' mouth dropped open. "Are you serious? Why would she do that?"
"I'd say because she loves you," Keesha said. "I don't have any further questions. If you should think of something, please call. Here's my card."
"Officer," Stefan called out before Keesha had moved too far away. He went to her and asked, "Are you certain about her association with Morgan?"
"Yes," Keesha answered. "We have documented proof of their association. This is off the record and I'm not speaking as an officer when I say that I believe Dawn had good intentions. She was upset that the men aiming at Jason hit Nikolas instead. I've had the opportunity to get to know Dawn on a personal level. She's a smart, caring young woman who got in over her head."
"Why didn't you try to stop her?"
In a hoarse voice, she said, "Because I didn't know what she was doing. I didn't understand until it was too late, but now that I do, I plan to do everything within my power to put an end this. It's time for the circle of violence to stop."