Chapter Twelve

~ Exposure ~

Jason found sleep impossible. Eventually, he gave up and just waited for morning to arrive. When the first streak of sunlight beamed through the curtains, Keesha woke up and he said, "I want to know everything."

Stifling a yawn, Keesha gazed at him through sleepy brown eyes. "Huh?"

He shook his head at his own insensitivity. His arms closed around her and he kissed her gently. "Good morning, Keesha."

She frowned. "I was beginning to wonder. Is something wrong?"

He swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood. Her gaze bore into his back, and he sensed her uncertainty. Blurting out his concerns wasn't the right way to go, but he needed to know. Everything.

"What were you talking about?" Keesha asked. The bed creaked as he heard her get up. Something rustled and he turned. She was putting on her robe. Their eyes locked. "What's everything?"

"I want to know about Jason Morgan," he said. "I want you to tell me."

Her brown eyes clouded over and became murky. She chewed her bottom lip and looked to the floor. "Your doctors said that we shouldn't talk about the past."

"They said if I didn't want to know," he clarified. He crossed the room to reach her. Gently, he tilted her face so that their gazes met. "I want to know. I'm not afraid of it anymore."

"I didn't know you were afraid."

Jason nodded. "I was. Jason Morgan did bad things. Accepting that has been hard. But I have to face up to it."

Long, dark hair bounced against her shoulders as she shook her head. "No, you don't. You're not that man anymore."

"There's no way we can know that for sure," he said. "Dr. Jones still has no idea why my memory returned. He claimed it wasn't supposed to happen. Who knows if Jason Morgan will or won't return-"

"He won't!"

Her reaction shocked him. It was so vehement and sudden. What kind of man was he before? Why did Carly love Morgan and Keesha hate him?

Jason softened his approach. His hands tenderly cupped her face. "I don't want that any more than you do."

"So why are you asking me to tell you about him?" she asked. "What's the point?"

"The point is," he said after taking a deep breath, "I need to know. He affected you, my family and the town. In order for things to be made right, I need to know how I messed them up. Every detail you can think of. Tell me, Keesha. You're the only person I can ask. You're the only one I trust."

"But I don't know everything," she said. "Jason Morgan pulled away from me. He formed a new family with Sonny Corinthos and Robin Scorpio. You'd be better off asking them."

He shook his head. "I don't want to ask them. I'm asking you. Please, Keesha. I know it's hard, and it won't be easy for me either. But I need to know. And I need you."

Keesha sighed. A sea of emotions rolled across her face. Jason doubted if she would turn him down, but he couldn't be sure. He'd never seen her hesitate over anything before, and that fueled his determination for the truth more than anything else.

Finally, she answered him.

"I'll do it. I need to call in to the station and let them know I won't be coming in."

"Is that necessary?"

She nodded. "This will probably take all day, and when it's over, I don't want you to be alone."


Dawn tied on her dressing gown and debated with her image in the mirror. Just yesterday after a long, glorious afternoon in Nikolas' arms, she made him promise to control his racing urges. Their parents probably suspected she and Nikolas shared a sexual relationship, but that didn't mean their suspicions had to be proved!

So then, why did she want to go to his room first thing in the morning?

She could kick herself, but oh, how she longed to see him at first light. Surely, they could wish each other a good morning without anything more happening?

Convinced that she and her beloved were mature enough to control their desire, she spun away from the mirror and left her room.

Nothing stirred behind the doors of her mother's or Stefan's quarters. Her pace quickened. Fortune was on her side. She could see Nikolas and return to her room before either parent would be any the wiser.

Dawn didn't bother with knocking. Nikolas wouldn't consider her visit an intrusion. He'd welcome it, she thought with a smile.

The door opened without a creak and Dawn padded inside. A red lacy nightgown tossed carelessly on the floor stopped Dawn in her tracks. She stared at the garment in confusion. It wasn't anything of hers, and Nikolai certainly wasn't a cross-dresser. Hmm...

She picked up the thin scrap and edged closer to the bed. His name was on the tip her tongue as she reached her destination. Her mouth dropped open and breathing became difficult. Her heart didn't want to believe what her eyes were seeing. It couldn't be possible!

The bedcovers were settled on the floor in a heap. Nikolas' nude body was curved around a naked woman. Dawn stepped closer although she didn't really want to, and then she recognized the face. It was Carly Benson, the nursing aide who looked after her mother!

Blood pounded in Dawn's temples. The pain in her chest was frightful. The nightgown fell from her nerveless fingers and she tore from the room without saying a word to either of them. The door slammed shut behind her.


Nikolas' head throbbed like it had been at the center of a train wreck. He felt Dawn shift in his arms and he patted her shoulders to soothe her back to sleep.

Perfume drifted to him and filled his senses. He frowned. Dawn didn't smell like that, and her flesh...didn't feel the way it normally felt. Slowly, he opened his eyes. Carly's smiling face stared back at him. Nikolas nearly tripped when he hopped out of the bed.

Her eyes leered at him, making him intensely aware of his lack of attire. He grabbed his robe, shoved his arms into it and tied it on. He then threw the bedcovers over her before saying a deadly cold voice, "Get out!"

"Is that anyway to treat me after what we did last night?"

Nikolas felt like he could explode with rage. "I did nothing with you. You forced yourself on me!"

Carly shuddered as his voice lashed through her. She stood, allowing the sheet to fall from her as she retrieved her nightgown from the floor.

"You can't deny it!" he said, storming to her. "Can you?"

She clutched the nightgown to her chest and backed away from him. "You wouldn't want to do anything you might regret later."

"I regret quite enough already," he bit out. "How dare you come to me in the middle of the night! I made it clear your advances were unwanted! You will get nothing from me, and if you tell Dawn anything about this, I'll kill you myself!"

His hands flexed at his sides and he stepped toward her. She gasped, sidestepped him and ran into the bathroom. Seconds later, she tore from the room, dressed and with a backpack. She never looked back as she ran from his wrath.

Nikolas shook from head to toe. Rage and disgust resorted in battle inside him. How could he have been intimate with Carly Benson? He loved Dawn!

She must never know what happened, he quickly decided. If Dawn found out, she'd never forgive him. Sometimes, she came to his room to wish him a good morning. If she came in now, she'd know. Smells still lingered in the air, the bed was tousled, and he was frantic.

He inhaled a deep calming breath. Common sense was needed here. He couldn't allow himself to become emotional. Emotions could cause him to be reckless and this was the worst time for recklessness.

After locking the door, he made quick work of stripping the bed. The chore was one he'd never performed before, so he had to work from the memory of having seen the servants do it. He covered the bed with the comforter and then carried the sheets to the bathroom. As he strode across the room to the bathroom, rage overtook him in a sudden hold. Without thinking, he gripped the sheets and ripped them into shreds. By the time he was finished, hardly anything worth saving was left of them at all.

The haze of anger faded and he looked down at his feet. The scraps of material covered the Persian rug and he grabbed all of the pieces and stuffed them inside the trash bin. His next stop was the shower. He felt as if untold filth covered his body. Standing under the steady hot spray of water, he scrubbed himself for hours. When he was done, he still didn't feel clean. Not like he had before. In the back of his mind, he wondered if he'd ever feel as clean again.


Mac didn't come home last night. Dara knew because she waited up for him. His car never pulled into the drive. His heavy footsteps never sounded on the doorstop. His warm body never joined hers in bed. She pulled a bottle of water from the cooler and gulped. The morning's dance rehearsal would be a dream if she could get her thoughts off Mac. Their young marriage wasn't in trouble just because he was consumed by Katherine. Was it?

Gavin, the choreographer and lead dancer on the tour, entered the rehearsal hall. He beckoned to Dara. "Brenda says you have a visitor waiting for you."

"Is it Mac?" she asked.

Gavin shrugged. "She didn't say. I'll continue with the other dancers until you return."

"How much time do I have?" she asked.

"You're the star." He smiled and pointed to the door. "We'll wait for you."

Dara tilted her head in a quick nod and left to greet her unexpected guest. The stranger stood in the building's lobby with her back to Dara. She was about Dara's height and had a short curly afro. Her attire was crisp, professional and expensive. The woman's bearing screamed attorney. Dara cleared her throat to announce her arrival.

The other woman turned with a smile and an extended hand. As the women shook hands, she said, "I'm Rebecca Washington. You're Dara Scorpio. It's nice to meet you."

Dara indicated for Rebecca sit. They claimed chairs that faced each other and Dara spoke, "How may I help you, Ms. Washington? Just to let you know, I'm no longer the ADA for Port Charles. I quit several months ago. If this is about a case, you should speak with DA Schultz."

Rebecca shook her head. "This isn't about anything you tried. As you've obviously guessed, I'm an attorney. I work with Donnell, Young, Dole & Frutt."

"From Boston."

"You've heard of us."

Dara's eyebrow arched as she chose her words carefully. "It's hard not to know about your firm. You're quite well known on this coast."

Rebecca smiled. "That's always good to know."

Dara laced her fingers together on her lap and leaned forward. "I'm sure you didn't ask to see me for idle chit chat. What is the purpose of your visit, Ms. Washington?"

"Please, call me Rebecca." She smiled again and mirrored Dara's pose. "I'm here on behalf of my client, Sonny Corinthos."

Dara's heart quickened. She hated her body's impulsive reaction, but at least, no one knew about it but her. She swallowed hard and asked as nonchalantly as she could muster. "What about him?"

"He's in jail."

"That's well known," Dara said. "He's involved in organized crime. Some would say that his jail term is long overdue."

"Would you say that?" Rebecca asked. "I ask because of your relationship with him. Do you really believe that he's in jail because of his alleged criminal involvement or because of the week you shared together in Hawaii earlier this year?"

Dara's mouth dropped open and she abruptly stood. "I don't know what Sonny told you, but... You know, I don't appreciate this interrogation. You need to leave. Now."

"Wait," Rebecca said, rising. "I didn't ask that to upset you, Mrs. Scorpio. The Senior Partner and I believe that our client's incarceration wasn't legal."

"So? I had nothing to do with his jail sentence."

"Indirectly, perhaps," Rebecca said. "We don't believe the decision to put Mr. Corinthos behind bars on trumped up charges was yours. We are well aware of your husband's past and how strongly he feels about our client."

"My husband has not railroaded your client!" Dara's breath came in spurts are her agitation grew. "Sonny is in jail because of the choices he made."

"So, if we investigate your relationship with him, we won't find anything that will clear our client of wrongful imprisonment."

"Investigate our relationship?" Dara asked, incredulous. "You have no right to do that."

"We have every right to use everything within our power to see that our client is free." Dara moved away and Rebecca followed. "I can understand how sticky matters of the heart can be. Believe me, I can. We don't want to do anything that would damage your marriage-"

"Mac knows that Sonny and I were involved for a short while," Dara said quietly. "He also knows that Sonny stalked me. I didn't press charges against him because I didn't want that get to out." Dara turned to face the other woman. "Mac didn't do anything illegal to get Sonny behind bars. As I said before, Sonny did it all to himself. Now, please excuse me, I have to rehearse for my tour."

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