"This is sick."
Carly grunted as Luke released a short laugh and munched on another Cornut. He held the open bag under her nose in a silent offering. She swatted it away with the back of her hand and then pulled her coat closer around her. "Why are we out here?"
"Because you called, little darling," Luke answered. "That's not sick," he said, pointing toward Dawn and Nikolas who were several yards away from them. "That's called Cassadine love. Learn from it so you'll know how to bust it up when the time comes."
"We don't have to watch them," she complained.
Luke shook his head and laughed. "It's not like they're knocking boots, Miss Priss. He's only taking her picture."
Another light flashed followed by a feminine giggle and a responding masculine chuckle. The lovebirds really made Carly sick to her stomach. No one had ever looked at her quite the way Nikolas gazed at Dawn. Well, okay, Tony did, but Tony was old, overweight and lonely.
Nikolas was just the opposite. Young, muscular, and sexy. It wasn't fair.
"If you play your cards right," Luke advised, "you can get your kid back and have the Prince, too."
"He doesn't want me. Look at him. It's clear who he wants. His damned snobbish betrothed."
"Well, she is attractive in an aristocratic way. I hear she comes from a wealthy Greek shipping family. All that money and good breeding must go a long way." Luke laughed again when Carly snorted.
"What good breeding? She's a bastard. Just like him and just like me. She's no better than anyone else."
"It's about time the Spencer side started showing itself, little darling. You're right. Give him a healthy dose of an All-American hot-blooded woman and he'll forget about Little Miss Refined."
Carly cut her eyes to look at her uncle. "So you really want me to sleep with him?"
Luke shrugged. "That's up to you. Do whatever you have to get inside the family."
"I'm already in the house. What more do you want?"
"Everything," Luke responded, his voice as cold as steel. "Everything and then some."
Stefan lowered the telephone to its base just as Petrukas slammed into his office. "Yes?" he questioned, dryly.
"That Katherine Bell woman is conscious and she claims not to remember anything."
Stefan nodded. "So, I've heard."
"I want her taken care of and now!"
"What would you propose I do?" Stefan asked. "Have her arrested?"
"Yes! I don't believe her cries of failed memory. She attacked Carlotta and there is a good chance she'll strike again. Take care of your former paramour now or I'll do it myself!"
"Enough!" Stefan pounded his fist on the desk and rose. "You'll do nothing. I will handle Katherine Bell."
Petrukas frowned and glared at Stefan. "You still love her," he accused.
"Nonsense. I love Carlotta and only her."
Petrukas sniffed and looked away. His face turned red with fury. Stefan watched the emotion spread through the older man and watched Petrukas gain control over it. When he was sure the man was calm again, he replied, "Katherine hasn't had a pleasant life. I believed she accepted the end of our relationship, but I see now I was amiss. She needs help. A jail cell is not the answer. Carlotta doesn't want that for her and neither do I."
"So she's to be sent to a mental institution?" Petrukas asked in disbelief. "She nearly killed my daughter but there is no punishment for her? No. That's not good enough."
"It will have to suffice," Stefan said. "It's what Carlotta wants."
"I'll have to see about that!" Petrukas announced before slamming out of Stefan's office.
Marcus held the telephone out to his younger sister. "Talk to her now."
"I talked to her last night when you called," Gia said, shying away from the telephone. "Why do I have to talk to her again?"
"Because I said so."
"You're not my father," she said with a violent jerk of her head. "You don't tell me what to do."
"This is my apartment," Marcus informed her, just barely keeping a tight rein on his irritation with her, "and while you're staying here, you'll do what I tell you to do. If you don't like it, you can go back home to Mom. I don't have to put up with your crap, Gia."
Her mouth dropped open. "I thought you were happy to see me."
"I am, but you're not gonna tell me what you're not gonna do in my home. Talk to her now or start packing. I'll take you back to her tonight."
She wrenched the telephone from him and planted it against her ear. "Hello, Mom."
Marcus watched his younger sister's face while she conversed with their mother. He wished he had another extension so he could listen in. The dissension between them was obvious the moment he got their mother on the line. She immediately wanted to know what Gia had done now. And Gia's response wasn't much better. He wished one of them would open up and let him in on what happened between them.
Gia shoved the phone against his chest. "She wants to talk to you again."
"Hey," he said. "What did you say to her?"
"I told her she needs to come back."
"I don't want to go back," Gia said almost as if she knew exactly what Florence just said. "She won't listen to me."
"Mom, Gia can stay here. I don't mind having her, but I need to know what's going on."
"Nothing's changed," Florence said. "She thinks the world owes her something. I told her one day someone is gonna knock that chip off her shoulder. Hold on. Someone is on the other line."
Marcus waited while she answered the other line. He glanced at Gia. Her bottom lip protruded in a childish pout. He shook his head. She was still a kid. It was a shame she didn't realize that.
"Sit down. I'm not taking you back. This time."
Gia plopped on the sofa and glared at him.
"But you'd better stop looking at me like that or I might change my mind. I don't know what your problem is, but you better fix it and soon. Do you want to stay here and finish out the term?"
Gia's eyes lit up with hope and then the light faded. "She'll never go for it."
"She may," he said. "Just answer my question."
"Okay. I'll take the day off tomorrow and we'll go look for a bigger place and register you for high school."
A smile spread across her face and her shoulders relaxed. "Great."
"Who were you talking to?" Arturo Corinthos demanded to know.
Florence bristled. "None of your damn business! Why are you calling me now after all these years? What do you want?"
"I want to know how my daughter is," he countered. "I want to see her."
"It took you long enough to care-"
"I've always cared!" A string of curses fell from his lips. He blew loudly into the telephone and said in a calmer voice. "Put Gia on the phone. I want to talk to her."
"You don't tell me what to do," Florence snapped. "Gia doesn't know you. That's what happens when you run away from your responsibilities. Your child grows up without a father. Besides, she doesn't need you."
"Stop being such a bitter bitch," he said through gritted teeth. "I know what I did was wrong. I'm trying to make it right. Let me do that."
He paused before answering. "Because she needs me."
"How do you know that?"
"It's a feeling I have," Arturo said. "I've been thinking about her a lot and I need to see her. Just tell her and let her decide."
"She's not here."
"Where is she?" he quickly asked. "Is she okay?"
"She's with her brother. If you want to see her, you'll have to go through Marcus."
"Fine. Then, that's what I'll do. Adios, bonita."
Exhausted, Caleb returned to his lair hidden underneath Port Charles in the catacombs. The home he constructed was temporary lodgings. In his mind, he planned to have an elaborate mansion built for his bride and the family they would create. For now, the 19th century cherrywood four-poster bed would have to do. Without bothering to kick off his boots, he collapsed across the bed.
The low moan passed from deep in his soul. Venturing out in the light of day was not a wise thing for him to do. The natural rays of the sun could have rendered him powerless if they didn't kill him on the spot. This time, the sunlight only drained him and he would have to rest now to replenish his strength. He smiled as his eyes closed. Oh, but the loss in power was worth it.
Sitting in the sun with the light dancing across her golden skin and tiny braids framing her face, she was worth the risky daytime trip.
She started as he approached her, but that was to be expected. She didn't recognize him. Not yet. But in time, the memories of their past would resurface and she would come running to him. Begging him to take her and join him in his dark world.
Caleb rolled onto his stomach and drifted off to sleep. Dreams filled his slumber and they were focused on only one woman. Gia.