Chapter 35

~ Cupid's Wayward Arrows ~

Her patient lay quiet and still in his bed and Ellen paused for a moment to watch him. Asleep, Matt was like an angel, serene and quiet. Awake, he was quite the opposite. A hellcat, disturbing and soul-stirring. She welcomed the time when she could see him like this. The times when he was awake were thrilling, she couldn't deny, but they were dangerous, too. Even though she'd made up her mind to accept her growing attraction to him, she was still afraid of it. The future was uncertain. Things could happen that could send them into a tailspin. What if the timing wasn't right? What if the draw was more physical than emotional? What if it was too emotional?

"G'morning," he murmured in a raspy voice, his eyes fluttering open. He yawned and pulled himself into a sitting position. Even with bandages covering his face, his dark eyes pierced through to singe her in a single glance. "Happy Valentine's Day, Ellen. When do I get out of this place?"

"Now, that's a greeting for you," she said, averting her eyes to keep from responding to his intense stare. "You're doing much better, but I'm not about to release you."

"You just want to keep me close," he said, teasing her. "You can do that without keeping me here as a patient. I need to be free, Ellen."

"You're fine here," she told him. Her flesh tingled at the sound of her name on his lips. She rubbed her arms to warm the goosebumps that had sprung up. Moving to the end of his bed, she slipped the clipboard down into the slot. "Besides, you won't be truly free until you are completely well. You're almost there, but not quite. Allow your body this time to heal. You're safe, you know. No one knows you're here."

"I suppose," he muttered as he folded his arms across his chest. "But I feel so caged in here. I like my privacy. I don't see why I can't finish the recovery at my apartment."

"There's no one there to take care of you," she retorted. "You are one hard headed man!"

Laughter floated up from his throat. "I guess we're a perfect match because you're the most stubborn woman I've ever known."

Ellen didn't respond to that. She let the words flow through her. A perfect match. She was scared to admit it, but she liked the sound of it. Her eyes came up to study his face and his laughter died. His dark eyes smoldered with fire and longing. Ellen inhaled sharply to catch her breath. Her tongue darted out to moisten her suddenly dry mouth. He groaned low in his throat.

"You didn't contradict me," he said quietly, his gaze steadily watching her.

"No, I didn't."

"Why not?"

She moved from the foot of his bed to sit on the guest chair to his right. Her eyes never wavered from his as she said, "Because it's pointless. Something is happening here...between us. It scares me, but I can't pretend that it's not there."

He held his out to her, palm up. She rested her hand inside his and he closed his hand around hers. "We can be scared together."

"Okay," she agreed. She closed her other hand over his, sealing the pact with a gentle caress of flesh upon flesh.


"Valentine's Day is so stupid," Elizabeth muttered. She grunted at the endless array of hearts and Cupids that adorned the walls of Port Charles' high.

"I think it's special," Sarah said.

"Well, that's dumb," Elizabeth told her. "You don't even a boyfriend any more. What do you care about it?"

"I care because it doesn't matter if you're a part of a couple or not. It's about love and all its shapes and sizes," Sarah explained. "I wish you understood that."

"I wish you'd stop being such a goody two shoes," Elizabeth spat before turning her back on her sister and storming down the hall to her locker. Tears clung to her lashes and nearly blurred her vision. With an angry swipe of her hand, she brushed the offending drops away. She was too old to cry. Besides, Valentine's Day was for wimps. Who cared about a stupid dance with stupid boys and stupid hearts and flowers? She didn't need or a want a guy tying her down with mushiness. Well, not any ole guy.

"Hey, Elizabeth," Lucky greeted her as he stopped at her locker. "How's it going?"

"Fine," she mumbled. "Everything is great."

"That's cool," he said with a warm smile. "Are you going to the dance? I hear it's gonna be cool even if Murty is a chaperon."

She didn't dare get her hopes up, but the fluttering of her heart betrayed her. Was Lucky Spencer on the verge of asking her out? Okay, it was short notice, but she didn't care. If he asked her minutes before the dance, she'd still say yes. Her feelings for him were stronger than a crush, and no matter how she tried they wouldn't go away. They just lingered, hanging on for dear life. Waiting for the day he returned the sentiment.

Shrugging her shoulders in what she hoped was a nonchalant gesture, she didn't respond with a verbal commitment. She wanted to see what he'd say first.

"I guess that means you're going," he said with a raised eyebrow and a tilt of his forehead. "Yes? No? Maybe?"

"Why do you want to know?" she asked, the words slipping out before she could stop them.

"Because I'd hate to think of you moping around when everyone's out having fun. I haven't really made that much of an effort with our friendship and I want to make amends," he told her.

"You do?"

He smiled again. "Yeah, I do. So, what do you say? Are you going to this thing or not?"

"Well, yeah, sure," she said shyly, a broad smile spreading across her face.

"Great!" he said. His blue eyes twinkled with pleasure. "Emily and I can meet you and your date at Kelley's around 8. If that's okay with you..."

Pain tore through her. He wasn't asking her out on a date. The realization was cruel and stung her brutally. She bit down hard on her bottom lip to prevent herself from crying out. Unable to speak, she simply nodded her agreement and Lucky walked away.

Sudden, silent sobs shook her. Elizabeth tried her best to hold herself in check, and when the pain subsided to a dull roar, she opened her locker. She grabbed the books for her next class, slammed the locker shut and then barreled straight into the chest of the captain of the football team. "You okay?" he asked when she stumbled slightly.

"I'm fine. Maybe you should watch where you're going!" she told him, moving to go around him.

"And maybe you should do the same, little girl," he told her as he fell into step beside her. "I've seen you around, you know. You work at Kelley's."


"So, I've seen you around," he said. "My name's Joel Michaels, but I'm sure you knew that already."

"You're full of yourself," she commented dryly and ignored the hand he had extended to her. He chuckled in response.

"I won't deny that," he answered with bold confidence. "You got any plans tonight?"

She came to a halt outside the room to her next class. As she shifted her books to her other arm, she raised her eyebrows. "This is last minute, don't you think?"


"So, maybe I don't like last minute dates." She moved to go inside her class and he called out to her.

"Elizabeth. Okay, you got me. It is last minute, but I hate spending V-day alone," he said.

"That sounds like a personal problem."

"Come on. Give a guy a break," Joel pleaded. "It wouldn't kill you to answer with a yes or no."

"What were you thinking about?" she asked without obligating herself to anything.

"I dunno. I was thinking we could hit the dance. A live band is playing this year. Shouldn't be too bad. What do you say?"

She thought about his offer. What better to show Lucky that he wasn't the only man out there than to have a date with the hottest guy at PCH? When he saw her on Joel Michaels' arm, he'd look at her with appreciation in his sapphire eyes and kick Emily to the curb where she belongs. Elizabeth smiled. "Sure, Joel. Pick me up at Kelley's at eight."


"AJ listen-"

"No, Scott," he interrupted, his face hot with growing anguish. "How can you be sure that Jason's not behind this? The day the papers are served, the baby mysteriously disappears? I don't put this past him or Carly! You don't know them like I do."

Scott rubbed a weary hand across his face as he looked at the younger man. Releasing a deep sigh, he agreed. "You're right. I don't know them, but I do know that Jason is putting good money out to find Michael. If he was behind the child's abduction, do you really think he'd waste his cash like that?"

"He doesn't care about money!" AJ barked. He flung the towel he had been folding back onto the table. "It's not about the money for him-"

"Well, if he had the baby, why would he stay away from him? Carly, too?" Scott questioned. "The private investigators I've hired have them under surveillance. They haven't made a mood that I don't have a record of and so far, nothing has led them back to Michael. AJ, listen to me. They don't have the baby."

AJ inhaled sharply and blinked away the tears that stung his eyes. "Then, it's true. Someone really did take him."

Scott gave him a comforting pat on his shoulder. "Yes, it's true."

"We have to find him, Scott," AJ said quietly. "He shouldn't be out there alone."

"I'm doing everything I can," Scotty answered. "His picture is out there. We'll get him back soon."


"It's bad enough I had to use a wheelchair to leave the hospital," Dawn began. "Must you really carry me up the staircase, too? Haven't I suffered enough indignities?"

Nikolas' dark brown eyes bored into hers. His voice was warm, sincere and solemn and meant for her ears only. "You've suffered more than enough and I intend to see that no further indignities shall befall you."

"So you'll put me down?" she asked, unable to prevent the echo of hope from her voice.


Pursing her lips, she shook her head at him. When his eyes glared and his jaw was set, there was no getting through to him. She'd hold on tight and keep her protests to herself.

As they reached the top of the staircase and Nikolas headed towards her suite of rooms, she grudgingly admitted to herself that she enjoyed his attentiveness. He'd been truly extraordinary and romantic! The time at the hospital wasn't nearly as dreadful as it could have been. Her parents took turns spending their days with her while allowing her evenings to spent alone with Nikolas. The perfect gentleman, he never came empty handed. A bouquet of roses, a box of chocolates or a stuffed toy was often hid behind his back until he produced the object with a flourish to her delight. Since the day for lovers had finally arrived, she wondered what exactly he had in mind to celebrate it. She doubted if he'd be able to top himself, but she was anxious to see all the same.

"Blessed be," he murmured, "your boudoir, mademoiselle."

He entered the room and gently placed her on the bed. When he was done, he rubbed the small of his back and grimaced. "I wasn't sure we'd make those last few steps. No more chocolate for you."

"You think you're so amusing, don't you?" she asked as a teasing smile played around the corners of his mouth. "Suggesting that a woman has put on weight is not kind. Thirty lashes for you!"

"Really?" he asked, his voice suddenly low and seductive. "Wait! Let me lock the doors first. We wouldn't want Quentin walking in on this."

Dawn giggled, but the pain in her abdomen soon made her stop. She rubbed her side and attempted to hide the discomfort from Nikolas. But she was unsuccessful. The teasing light left his eyes and he frowned. Sitting on the edge of her bed, he took her hand and asked, "Is there anything I can do? I can get your pain medication if you'd like."

"Just hold my hand," she said. "It should subside shortly."

"I wish I could take your pain away," he said quietly. "I don't like seeing you like this."

"I know. I don't like feeling like this, but Dr. Quartermaine said that my wounds will heal." She squeezed his hand and then settled herself comfortably against the pillows. "How is your new friend? Tommy is his name, correct? Is he any closer to being reunited with his girlfriend?"

Nikolas rose and positioned himself beside her. Carefully, he wrapped his arm around her and drew her close to him until her head rested on his chest. "Tommy is his name. I spoke with him before I met you at GH. He's anxious to meet you."

"I want to meet him, too. Tomorrow, if that's fine with him."

"I'm sure it won't be a problem," Nikolas answered. "Now, you were asking about his girlfriend... Her name is Lynn. Hawk is helping them and Spenser is the only whose 100% clear on what's happening with Moreno. It's driving Magnum crazy-"

"Is that really his name?" Dawn asked.


"You're not teasing me?"

"No!" he said with a laugh. "Why must you ask me that every time I say his name?"

"Because I don't put it past you to make it up," she said tartly.

"Well, he wants to talk to you, too. I suppose you can question him about his name since you don't believe me," Nikolas said with a smug smile on his face. "This should be entertaining. He's taller than Hawk and can be intimidating when he wants to be."

"Did he try to intimidate you?" Dawn asked. "Was he successful?"

Nikolas' eyebrow raised in disbelief. "Of course, he wasn't successful. Cassadines are never intimidated."

"A momentary lapse. My apologies," she said with a smile. "Thank you for sharing this with me. I know that you'd rather not, considering..."

"You're welcome," he told her, "and I want you to know that I have no problems with sharing the information with you as long as you don't try to act on it."

"I won't," she vowed. They sat quietly after that for a few moments. Then Dawn said, "I'm sorry that this Valentine's Day won't be as special as...well, I'll be better soon and then we can...well, we could...if you want to..."

"Don't say another word, sweetheart," he turned his head and pressed his lips to her forehead before dipping his head lower to brand her mouth with his hot, fevered kisses. When he was done, their ragged breathing echoed in the room. In time, he added, "I can wait as long as necessary. There's no rush. We have the rest of our lives to make love to each other."

"The rest of our lives?" she repeated in a whisper. "Ask me, Nikolai. Please, ask me again."

He shifted on the bed so that their eyes were level. Love shone brightly in his chocolate brown eyes when he looked at her. "I spoke prematurely at Dyrkenshire Castle so many months ago. I was confused. I'm not anymore. If you'll have me, I would ask that you'll consider my proposal of marriage...that'll you be my wife. Will you?"


More Valentine's tricks and treats in the next chapter....

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
All Rights Reserved

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