Chapter 3

~Plots and Plans~

Taggert slammed a handful of folders onto his desk and Keesha jumped. She wiped the coffee that spilled onto her desk and gave her partner a hard look. "Rough night?"

"I've had better," he grumbled, grabbing his chair and sitting down across from her. Their desks faced each other and he stared at her. "What is it with kids these days? Why do they think they know everything?"

Keesha arched an eyebrow and leaned forward. "I didn't know you had kids."

"I don't," he growled. "I have a bratty kid sister who thinks she's smarter than what she is."

"Wow," she said, softly. "I didn't know you had family who lived here. You've never mentioned them."

Taggert started straightening the folders and stacking them in order of importance. "They don't live in Port Charles. They were down in Brooklyn. Well, my mother still is, but my sister decided to run away and landed on my front steps last night."

Her partner had never revealed so much personal information before. Keesha wanted to know more but didn't want to pry. However, she sensed that he wanted to talk, so maybe a little gentle prompting wouldn't be out of line. She asked, "How old is she?"

"She's seventeen. She'll be eighteen in a few weeks as she quickly informed me so her showing up on my doorstep couldn't be considered a runaway situation." He rolled his eyes. "I don't know where she gets that crap from. Probably the gangbanger friends she runs with. I shouldn't have left her alone. I'd better go-"

"Taggert, wait." Keesha stood up as he grabbed his jacket. "Teenagers need to feel independent. Accusing her of hanging out with gangs is a bit much, don't you think?"

"No," he said. "She's got a tattoo on her ankle. I know the signs because I ran with that crowd too once upon a time. Look, Keesha, I hate to do this, but I think I should go home and talk to her."

"Want some help?" she offered. "Maybe two voices of wisdom would work better than one."

"Would you?" he asked. "I don't know. We have that Katherine Bell thing to look into. I'll talk to Gia on my own first and then, I'll call you in for back-up. Is that okay?"

She smiled. "It sounds good to me. If you need me, you have my cell phone. I called the hospital. Katherine hasn't regained consciousness. I'm going out to Wyndemere to see if there's anything new to learn. I'll call you if anything happens. Good luck with your sister."

"Thanks. I'm gonna need it."


Dawn woke up alone. She rolled towards Nikolas' pillow and curled around it. The bundle of cottony softness was cool, but Nikolas' scent was still strong and it smelled heavenly. She inhaled and sighed. He should have woken her before he went for his morning ride. She didn't like waking up to the new morning without his handsome face smiling at her and without his delicious lips kissing hers. "Oh, Nikolai," she groaned, hugging the pillow to her breast.

"Yes?" he said, closing the bathroom quietly behind him. A towel hung low around his waist. Beads of water clung to his bare, muscular chest. Barefoot, he padded across the room to her. "You called?"

Her eyes widened in surprise and her pulses raced at the sight of him clad only in a towel. "How did you get in there?"

"I walked," he said, his dark eyes teasing her. "How else would I get there?"

She threw his pillow at him. He caught it and tossed it back. She swung her legs over the bed and went to him. "You know what I meant. Must you always take me so literally?"

"No," he murmured. His hands drew her to him and slid down her back to cup her backside through the silk fabric of her pajama bottoms. "I could take you slowly-"

"Nikolai!" she gasped and then his mouth was on hers.

His kisses were slow, deep and aroused her thoroughly. Low moans emitted from the back of her throat in response to his coaxing tongue and roaming hands. She wanted him to take her slowly. God, how she wanted it.

Her hands grasped the towel at his waist. Her fingers fumbled to loosen it from him, but the sound of the door creaking open behind them brought her movements to an abrupt stop. Their kiss ended and Dawn whirled around. A young woman with dripping blonde hair and only a towel around her stood in the doorway. The other woman's eyes looked at Nikolas like he was a full course meal and she was about to die from starvation. Dawn moved in front of him and snapped coldly, "May I help you? Who are you?"

" looking for my room. I went out one door and came out another one. I guess I got lost."

"I guess you did," Dawn remarked, unconvinced. "You still didn't answer my question."

"Sweetheart, she's Carly Benson. She's here to help take care of Aunt Carlotta."

"Oh," Dawn grunted through lips that barely moved.

Carly spoke to Dawn while continuing to stare at Nikolas. "So, you're the betrothed."

"Yes, and you're in the wrong room," Dawn told her. "Turn around, go right and the door you want is three doors down on your left."

Carly looked at Dawn then and smirked. "I guess I've been dismissed. Sorry, Nikolas about the mix up."

She left, closing the door behind her.

Dawn quickly locked the door and then rounded on Nikolas. "It wasn't a mix up. She came in here on purpose."


"Don't," she said, holding up a finger to warn him. "I haven't finished."

He frowned once before a smile brightened his handsome face. He tugged on the towel and it landed at his feet. Taking measured steps to her, he asked in a low voice, "Haven't you?"

She groaned as he covered her throat in kisses and carried her to his bed. He lowered himself onto her and she surrendered to his caresses, stopping him for only a moment to say, "We're together now, Nikolai. No more blondes will come between us."

"Never," he said. "I love you. Of that you can always be certain." He trailed her finger from her cheek to her collarbone. "Now will you please not interrupt me again?"

"I promise," she said with a slight whimper as his hand closed over her breast. "As you were..."


"Where have you been?" Bobbie asked, as Carly entered the room. "Please don't tell me you were wandering the halls in only a towel!"

"I'm sorry, okay!" Carly stormed past Bobbie to the bathroom. She quickly dressed in a white uniform of jeans and matching t-shirt and smock. She returned to the room and pulled on socks and shoes. "I got lost."

"How?" Bobbie asked. "The bedroom and the bathroom are adjoining rooms."

"I've never been good with directions," Carly mumbled. "I'll just have to learn my way around here."

"Oh, no you don't," Bobbie told her. "We're here to take care of the patient. You won't have time to tour the estate."

"How can you be so perfect and professional about all of this?" Carly asked. "You used to be married to the guy for goodness sakes! Doesn't it piss you off just a little bit to be here now, taking care of his new woman."

"Whatever happened between Stefan and me has nothing to do with Carlotta," Bobbie said. "We're here to take care of her. That's it."

Carly's cell phone rang and she answered it. "Hello."

"Hi there, little darlin'," her uncle Luke returned. "How was night one in the mausoleum?"

"I can't talk right now-"

"Go ahead and talk," Bobbie said, heading for the door. "But make it quick. No goofing off, Carly and I mean it. Five minutes."

"I'll be there," she muttered. Bobbie glared at her for a moment and then left her alone. Carly's hands gripped the phone. "What are you doing calling me? I told you not to call while I'm in here!"

"And I told you I make the rules," Luke said. "Was that Bobbie giving you hell? She's great at that."

"Yeah, no kidding. I guess it comes by her naturally," she grunted. "Now what do you want?"

"I'm checking in, but you know, right now, I'm thinking I don't like your attitude, little miss. Maybe I won't help you get little Mikey back after all-"

"Luke wait! Dammit!" she exclaimed in a frantic whisper. "Don't be so damned quick. How can I help you this morning?"

"Now, that's more like it. Did you see Vlad Junior?"

"Nikolas?" she asked. "Yeah, I met him last night and I saw him this morning."

"How does it look? Think you'll be able to get next to him?"

Carly shrugged. "Sure. He has a clingy girlfriend, but she won't be a problem."

"See that she isn't," Luke bit out. "I'll call you again with instructions, but for now, keep chatting him up. We'll be in touch."

"Great. Something to look forward to," she grunted with heavy sarcasm.

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