~The Power of Communication~
"I come bearing good news," Dara entered Matt's room with a smile. She closed the door firmly behind her before moving to his bedside. "I ready for some good news?"
Matt grinned underneath the protective bandages on his face. "I was born ready. What's the news?"
"You're being released today," she said, removing his chart from the foot of the bed. "I think you're fit enough to get out of here. How does that grab you?"
"Wonderfully," he said as he pulled himself into a sitting position. "This is great news. I thought you'd have me in here for a while longer. I'm glad that wasn't the case. I can't wait to get out of here."
Ellen laughed softly. "You're like most doctors. You hate it when you're the patient."
His dark eyes danced with mischief. "Actually, I don't mind being the patient when I'm playing doctor with a capable partner."
She inhaled a sharp breath. With the way his eyes roamed over her, she knew the exact meaning behind his little innuendo. Her skin tingled as for a brief moment she allowed herself to consider the possibilities. A slow smiled spread across her face and she said in a low, throaty voice, "I think I'd like to hear more about this, but not here."
Matt's eyebrows lifted. "Where? Tell me and I'll be there."
"Settle down, Doctor." Ellen reached down and lightly ran her fingertips along his hand. He tried to grab it, but she quickly pulled her hand out of reach. Wagging her finger at him, she shook her head. "No, no. Patience."
The mischief in his eyes faded. He became serious and his eyes bored into her. "I'm not a patient man, but if it's worth the wait, I can do it. I believe you're worth it."
His words shook her. No man had affected her so deeply since Sam died and being shaken now scared her. But she remembered the promise she made to him and to herself. No more running. It was time to embrace life again. She swallowed hard and nodded. "I believe you are, too."
The private investigators met at Felicia's office. She sat behind her desk while Spenser claimed a guest chair and Magnum leaned against the wall. The discussion centered on the East Coast Mafia and their role in putting an end to their tyranny.
"Have you heard from Hawk?" Magnum asked.
Spenser shook his head. "Not so far. He won't contact me until he's inside."
"How long will that take?" Felicia asked.
"It shouldn't take too long. He has a reputation. It's solidifying his credentials. I'm sure I'll hear from him before the week is out," Spenser replied. He looked up at Magnum. "What are your connections doing for you? Have you heard from your friend?"
"Rick called last night. Ice Pick is putting the word out about me. Once we get Hawk's call, everything should be in place."
Felicia smiled. "It's all coming together guys. Tommy will be very happy to be united with Lynn soon."
"How is he?" Magnum asked, frowning. "You mentioned something about a family emergency. What happened?"
She shrugged. "He didn't go into detail. It sounded serious, but I don't think it has anything to do with Moreno or Mancusi. I think one of his cousins is ill."
"It's just as well," Spenser added. "He's a kid. We shouldn't involve unless we need."
"And we don't need to," Magnum said to which the others agreed.
Sarah's hand hovered over the telephone and she glanced over her shoulder at Tommy. "I'm not sure."
"You have to," Tommy told her. "Your parents should be here. Elizabeth shouldn't go through this without them."
Her eyes watered with unshed tears. "But she begged me not to. You didn't see how upset she was..."
He sighed. He wrapped his arms around Sarah in a brotherly hug. "No, I didn't see, but I heard her. She's frightened and upset. She has every right to be, but Sarah, she's still a minor. Uncle Jeff and your mom are responsible for her and they should know what's happened."
"But wouldn't this take something away from her?" Sarah questioned when the hug ended. "Control was taken away from her when that jerk... By calling Mom and Dad, I'm taking even more away."
"No, you're not," he said with soothing patience. "You're given her support which something she needs right now. Uncle Jeff and your mother haven't exactly been the greatest parents, you know. It's about time they've handled their responsibilities. Elizabeth is their daughter and she needs their love more than ever. We can give it to her, but she still needs them. Look, if you're afraid that she'll be upset with you if you call them, you don't have to do it. I'll call them-"
Tommy reached for the telephone and Sarah's hand shot out. "No. You're right. I'll call them. If she gets mad at me, so be it."
"Want me to stick around while you talk to them?" he offered.
Sarah shook her head. "That's okay. I can do it."
Tommy patted her shoulder and left her alone in what used to be their grandfather's study. He and Elizabeth's relationship hadn't improved, but that didn't prevent him from being concerned about her. He headed for the stairs to check on her again, but stopped when Lucky met him at the bottom of the staircase. "How is she?" he asked the younger man.
"She's asleep," Lucky responded.
"Thanks for everything...especially for taking her to the hospital," Tommy said. "You acted fast and that was good. I can't tell you how much my family appreciates that."
Lucky nodded. "The hospital was the best place for her. At school, there have been a few classes... Taking her anywhere else would have been dumb. Especially if some of the evidence was...lost. Besides, she needed medical care. I couldn't give that to her. Not what she really needed."
"You're right about that."
"Well," Lucky began, "I'm going out for a little while. If she wakes up, tell her I'll be back."
"Where are you headed? If you needed a ride..."
Lucky shook his head. "Nah, that's all right. The cold air is good for thinking. Don't tell her this, but Mrs. Hardy loaned her a bracelet and it got lost during the...attack. She's upset it being lost, so I'm gonna try to see if I can find it."
"Want some help?" Tommy offered.
"Sure, I guess two heads would be better than one."
"This came in the mail for you today," Stefan said to Nikolas as he handed him the envelope. "The postmark is North Carolina."
Nikolas' jaw clenched and he took the letter from his uncle. His eyes quickly scanned the return address even though he already knew who sent it to him. "Laura."
Stefan nodded. "It appears that your mother has seen fit to return to the States."
"Have you contacted her?" Nikolas asked, the words rushing out of him without a second thought.
His uncle's eyes widened in surprise. "No. Should I have?"
Nikolas averted his gaze from Stefan's penetrating stare. Shrugging, he pretended to be interested in the stack of financial magazines that rested on Stefan's desk. "No. Just wondering..."
Stefan released a low breath. He removed his glasses from the bridge of his nose and took his time with cleaning them and putting them aside. "I sense that your question was not born of idle curiosity. Why are you questioning me about your mother?"
"Where's Katherine?" Nikolas countered. "I haven't seen her around her lately. You don't mention her. I went to the cottage and it appears like she's moved away. It isn't like her to leave without talking to me. Why did she?"
"In light of recent events, I've been distracted. I meant to tell you this myself," Stefan responded. "My engagement to Katherine is off-"
"Is it because of another woman?" Nikolas interjected, directing a hard glare at Stefan.
Stefan's mouth tightened. "It would appear that you already have an answer for that question, but I will answer you. The reasons for the broken engagement are many and do not concern you."
"I disagree," Nikolas said. "I am involved."
"And why is that?" Stefan asked.
"The other woman is my mother," Nikolas stated quietly.
Stefan nodded once. Rising from his chair, he circled around the desk to stand in front of Nikolas. He grasped the young man's shoulder in a firm, but loving hold. His gaze never wavered from Nikolas. "I assure you that your mother had no part in what has transpired between Katherine and me. These suspicions aren't like you, Nikolas. Care to tell me who planted such disruptive thoughts into your mind?"
Nikolas released the air he'd been holding. "Helena-"
"She accosted you?" Stefan questioned. "When?"
"It doesn't matter. She didn't threaten me or anything," Nikolas quickly said. "She mentioned your interest in Laura and something about Katherine. I wondered... I guess I shouldn't have, but when Katherine suddenly disappeared, I needed to know."
Stefan patted Nikolas' cheek and smiled. "You were wise to discuss this with me. Helena will use any trick to implant a wedge between us. We are the only ones who can make sure her tricks do not meet with success. Go ahead and read your letter from your mother and be rest assured that there will be no interference from me."
Nikolas pulled Stefan into a sudden, brief hug. "Thank you, Uncle."
"You're welcome," Stefan murmured as Nikolas headed for the door.
Sal Mancusi's top man, Santiago handed the mob boss the day's mail before discreetly leaving father and son alone again. Bobby's foot tapped nervously on the carpeted floor as he waited for the rest of his father's tongue-lashing. He knew that with the arrival of the stack of correspondence there would be a slight delay, but considering how upset Sal was, the delay wouldn't matter. The old man would come back in full force. When his father's stoic face cracked and a delighted chuckle escaped from his belly, Bobby's mouth dropped open. Maybe the lashing wouldn't be so severe after all.
"Pop, what is it?"
Sal continued to cackle with glee. "Bobby, my boy, come look at this."
Bobby leapt from the chair and moved behind his father's desk. He peered over Sal's wide shoulders and did a double take when he looked at what his father held in his hands. A photo of his younger, snitching brother, Eric was right there and on the back were the words...
"Port Charles," Sal chuckled. "Would you believe it? He's right here on the same coast."
Sal slid the photo back inside the envelope and gave it to Bobby. All humor left his face and he said in a chilling voice, "Handle it or don't come back."
Bobby's blood ran cold. His father's unvoiced threat meant certain death. Unable to speak, he simply nodded and rushed out the door bound for Port Charles, New York.