Robert opened the blinds in the offices he shared with his brother, Mac. After dealing with Corinthos and seeing that he was put behind bars, they decided to open a private investigation business together. Their clientele hadn't been too intriguing, but they weren't in it for the adventure. They did it because sometimes it just felt good to help someone.
They advertised for a secretary and until they found someone who fit their personalities, Robin performed the duties. She entered the office and closed the door behind her. Usually, she called out a cheery 'good morning', but today, she was quiet and pensive. Robert immediately felt the difference.
"Hi, sweetheart," he said, leaning in the doorjamb that separated his office from the reception area where the secretary worked. "What's wrong?"
"What makes you think anything is wrong?" she asked, without looking at him.
"You're quiet and you didn't say anything when you came in. That's not like you."
She shrugged and began shuffling through a stack of mail. "I suppose I have quiet days and loud days just like anyone else."
"I suppose," he said, wondering if he should just drop it. He regarded her stiff back for a few more seconds and decided to leave well enough alone. She would come to him when she was ready. "Mac won't be in until later this afternoon. He was at the hospital most of the night."
"How's Katherine?" Robin asked, finally turning around to face her father. "Has there been any change?"
He shook his head. "Not so far. Mac said he'd call when he heard anything."
"I'll have to ask Dara about the tour. Maybe she'll want to postpone it."
"I don't know," Robert said. "I suppose anything is possible. I think she was with Mac all night so you might want to wait on ringing them."
"Yes, sir," she said, giving him a mock salute.
He saluted in return and went back inside his office. He started to review the résumés of the potential secretaries who planned to interview that day. A light tap sounded on his door and he looked up to see Robin staring back at him. He smiled.
"I'm sorry about before. Something is wrong. Do you have a few minutes to talk?"
"Robin, I'll always have time to talk to you. Come in and sit down." He pointed at a guest chair. "Tell your ole dad what's gotten you in such a sad state."
She sat down and folded her hands in her lap. "Seeing Jason with Keesha is harder than I thought it would be. I thought I could accept that he doesn't remember our relationship, but there's a part of me that wants to remind him! And then, there's Marcus..."
"What about Marcus?" Robert knew the detective and admired his professionalism. However, when it came to his daughter, Marcus Taggert wasn't what he had in mind for her. He noticed their conversation at the party and hoped there was nothing more to it, but now, he wasn't so sure. "What did he do?"
"It's not what he did. It's what I did," she confessed. "I was rude to him and I shouldn't have been. I took out my frustration on him. I should apologize."
"That sounds easy enough."
She nodded. "Yes, it does, but I haven't made a move to do it. He doesn't treat me like a fragile glass doll. He says things to me that no one has ever dared mention-"
"About the HIV?" Robert asked, becoming tense.
"No, Dad, not about that. About other things. About how the world sees me and how I see myself. It was enlightening."
"Was he rude?"
Robin leaned forward and reached for her father's hand. "No, he wasn't. I was. I don't think you would have been very proud of me. Look, I'd better get back to work. I noticed we're out of coffee. I'm gonna run down to the corner market and grab a few things. Is there anything you'd like me to get?"
"No, thanks." He pulled out his wallet and handed her some money. "I can't think of anything specific. Just whatever you want."
"Okay." She stood up. Heading for the door, she said, "I'll be back soon."
Robert heard the door close behind her and grabbed the résumés again. He found it hard to concentrate with his thoughts on his conversation with his daughter. She was such an independent young woman. He wanted to offer her whatever guidance he could, but maybe it was too late for that. Maybe all he could was settle for being her friend.
Robert dropped the papers. His eyes cut to his doorway as his hand reached for his firearm secured in his shoulder holster. He shook his head as Luke smirked and he dropped his hand. "You find pleasure in sneaking around, don't you?"
Luke laughed. "Some. You used to be faster than that. What's slowing you down?"
"I'm older now," Robert said, "but I'm still as good as I ever was."
"Care to prove it?" Luke grabbed a chair and straddled it. He pulled a cigar from his pocket and sniffed. "Ah..."
"Don't light it," Robert warned him. "We have a strict no smoking policy."
"When did you become such a sissy?"
Robert grunted. "First, I'm slow and now, I'm a sissy. When did you become so damned perfect?"
Luke rolled his eyes and put the cigar away. "I need your help on something. Interested?"
"Depends," Robert said, leaning back in his chair.
"An old enemy is stirring up trouble. I could use a friend as back up."
Robert sat up straight. "I'm listening."
"The Cassadines have attacked my family. I need someone I can trust to help me tear them down."
An image of Alexis flashed before Robert's eyes and he immediately knew he'd have to turn his old friend down. And he knew just as quickly that Luke wouldn't understand.
Gia grabbed the key for the apartment that Marcus gave her and hightailed it out of the apartment as soon as he left. She couldn't believe he just left her alone without a lecture or just handcuffing her to the wall or something. Talk about luck! And since it was on her side, she wasn't about to diss it.
Port Charles wasn't too boring, she decided. It had lots of places for her to explore once the brownstones were behind her. She pulled her jacket close around her and slid a pair of sunglasses onto her nose and sashayed up the sidewalk.
Since it was still relatively early, kids her age were still in bed asleep. Well, most of them, it seemed. Up ahead, she saw a blonde kid on a skateboard. Maybe he could fill her in on the sights of the city. She called out to him as he jumped onto the board.
He turned, brushing blonde locks from his eyes. "Hey, yourself."
"What's your name?" she asked, popping a stick of gum into her mouth. She offered him some and he took two sticks of Wrigley's Big Red.
"I'm Lucas," he told her as he chewed. "You?"
"Gia." Her gaze took him in from head to toe. He was kinda cute. He had a baby face, but the deep voice made up for it. She guessed he was about her age, seventeen or maybe a year younger. "I'm new here. What's there to do for fun?"
He laughed. "Not much. I didn't think I'd seen you around before. Are you skater?"
"Too uncoordinated for that kind of action," she told him. "Is that it? Just skateboardin'?"
"Nah, it was just a question." He stepped off the board and shoved it underneath his arm. "I can't say that Port Charles has a lot to offer. Listen, my Aunt Ruby runs a diner. Wanna grab some breakfast?"
"Sure." She fell into step beside him.
"Where you from?"
He gave her a sideways glance. "That's gotta be more interesting than this place. What are you doing here?"
"I'm visiting relatives and getting away from it all."
"Sounds good." He pointed across the street. "There's the diner. After breakfast, wanna hang?"
"Sure." She smiled and he returned it. His expressive baby blues lit up and Gia knew she'd just made a new friend.
Sonny turned the business card over in his hand. The words Donnell, Young, Dole & Frutt stood out in bold letters. The law firm out of Boston was reputed as being big shots in the courtroom especially, the head guy, Bobby Donnell. Sonny lifted his head and looked at Donnell and the cute attorney who accompanied him, Rebecca Washington. He supposed they would do for now.
"Mike Corbin said you wanted our firm to represent you, Mr. Corinthos," Bobby said, "but if that's not the case, we can leave right now."
Sonny stared at him. Silently, he accessed the man and his sidekick. He wasn't surprised that his silence had riled the guy. It was a tactic he often used, and he was curious to see how far he could go with it.
A muscle flickered in Donnell's jaw. He placed his hand at Ms. Washington's waist. "Okay, Rebecca, let's go-"
"Wait," Sonny said. He pointed at the two chairs on the other side of the large wooden desk. "Have a seat. Let's talk. By the way, the name's Sonny. A man behind bars can't put on too many airs."
Donnell and Ms. Washington sat. She pulled a bright yellow legal pad from her briefcase and began to jot notes. Donnell proceeded with asking the questions. "Mr. Corbin told us you dismissed your prior attorney. We reviewed his work and while it usually isn't our policy to discuss fellow attorneys, you were wise to get rid of him. The route he was on would have had you behind bars for the rest of your life."
"Can you do better?" Sonny asked.
Bobby sat up straight and looked him straight in the eyes. "Yes."
"Do it," Sonny told him. "I want outta here. I have a life waiting for me and I aim to claim it as soon as possible."
Dara watched Mac yawn and stretch and her heart went out to him. He was so worried about Katherine. She could understand why. They were good friends and she knew if something so bizarre had happened to Marcus or Ellen she'd be just as concerned. As he rose from the breakfast table, she reached for his hand. She looked at him with eyes filled with concern. "I'm sure Robert and Robin can handle it alone today. Maybe you should get some rest. You barely slept."
He bent forward and brushed her lips with his. "I can handle it. Besides, we're interviewing secretaries today. I can't miss that."
He gathered the dishes and took them to the sink. She followed with the mugs. "No one expects you to be Superman, Mac. You were at the hospital all night."
"So were you," he reminded her. "And look at you. You're all dressed, ready for your meeting with Brenda and Ned. Trust me. I'm fine. I've had longer nights when I was Police Commissioner."
He moved to face her, pulling her into the circle of his arms. "I love how you're worried about me, though. It's sexy in a domesticated kinda way."
She wagged her finger at him as he grinned. "I'm not kidding."
"I know," he said, his expression becoming serious. "Seriously, I'm fine. I wanna drop in at the office and then, I'm gonna go by the hospital."
"What time will you be there? I'd like to join you."
"You don't have to sit there and hold my hand," he said. "Besides, with the tour coming up, there are more important things for you to do, right?"
"Nothing is more important to me than being with you when you need me."
He smiled. "I know, love, and I appreciate it. But all I'll be doing is sitting around the hospital and getting in the doctors' way. Don't neglect the tour and whatever needs to be done to make sure it's a success. It'll be bad enough when you're gone-"
"I wanted to talk to you about that. Maybe I should see about postponing it-"
"No." He shook his head. "You've been planning this for weeks, and you can't postpone it. I don't want you getting a reputation for being a flake!" He tapped the tip of her nose with his forefinger. "Trust me, I'll be okay."
"Okay," she said, resting her head on his solid chest. Her arms squeezed him tight. "As long as you say so."