Chapter 34

*Circumstantial Existence*

Gia combed her fingers through her unbraided hair. At Caleb's request, she allowed her tresses to flow freely. It took a few days of getting used to. But now, she barely gave her hair a second thought. Her days were spent asleep and her nights were filled with hunger. She didn't like to think that her cravings for pizza, fries and ice cream had been replaced by blood. Succumbing to Caleb's will required more than she ever imagined.

The echo of slamming doors reverberated throughout the house. She left the sanctuary of her bedroom and stepped onto the landing that overlooked the second floor. Caleb rushed around like a whirlwind. From this distance, she couldn't read his face, but she sensed from his harried movement that his plans still went unfulfilled.

She glided down the staircase to him. "What is it?"

"You know what it is," he growled. "The girl is elusive. I cannot find her. Nothing like this has ever happened before."

"Maybe we should get another baby." She ran a hand over his tense shoulders. "Surely, any baby would do to make our family."

He stiffened. "No."

"But why not? What makes this baby so important? There are at least fifty pregnant women in Port Charles right now. You're running around all over the world when what we need is right here."

"What we need isn't here." He turned to face her. His knuckles brushed her jaw. "The child was created in the pure light of love. There is none other like him in all the world. We need him for our survival."

Her mouth parted. This was more than Caleb had ever told her. His words shocked her. "Our survival? What happens if we don't get him?"

He looked away. "The slayer and her helpers will defeat us. We will cease to exist."

~**~

With the trial set to start in a matter of weeks, meeting with her attorneys wasn't an option but a necessity. Katherine looked to Mac for support. He never failed her. She wondered if he realized that he spent more time with her than he did with his wife. A few times, sympathy filled her as she thought of Dara. But then, Katherine would look into Mac's expressive green eyes and not give a damn about his soulful songstress bride.

He placed a hand to her back as they entered the empty conference room. "I can't believe they're not here, yet."

She glanced at her watch. "We're early. Relax, Mac."

"Relax?" he repeated with a frown. "Your life is on the line."

"I know."

He gestured wildly with his hands. "Then, why aren't you nervous or worried?"

"Because of you," she said. She took his hands and held them. "You calm my fears. I don't know where I’d be without you, but with you, I feel safe."

His agitated state faded. He gave her a half smile as he laced their fingers together. "Katherine. . .I don't know what to say."

"Don't say anything. Just know that I appreciate you and I'm glad you're here."

~**~

Nikolas left Wyndemere and journeyed across Spoon Lake. The enormous estate felt stifling now that Caroline had returned. Before, it simply felt empty without Dawn. Now, the large, imposing walls closed in around him. He had to leave before he exploded and not give a damn about the casualties.

Tommy met him on the docks. "You okay?"

Cassadines were taught to never reveal themselves but to trusted allies. And even with them, to tread with caution. With Tommy, he lowered his guard. "Not really. Thanks for meeting with me. I trust I didn't interrupt you and Lynn."

"She's studying for finals. I finished mine today."

They climbed the staircase and headed in the direction of Kelly's. Nikolas didn't care where they went as long as it was away from Spoon Island.

"Have you heard from Magnum?" his friend asked.

"We spoke yesterday. He says that she made her European performances."

"Why didn't he grab her?"

"She and her companion were always a step ahead of him. Now, that her concerts are done, she's gone into hiding. It's like she's vanished."

"That's impossible," Tommy said. "Who's her companion? Anyone you know?"

"An older blonde man." Nikolas' jaw tightened as he repeated what Magnum relayed to him. "His identity is unknown. Magnum is looking into it."

"You're very calm about all this," Tommy commented as they moved past Kelly's and continued toward the park.

"No, I'm anything but. I did this," he said. "I broke her heart and she left. If I had…handled things…differently…"

"I don't understand your relationship with Carly. You love Dawn. Don't destroy your life because of a misguided sense of duty. Of course, you're responsible for your child, but you don't even like Carly. Why would you imprison yourself with her? It won't be fair to any of you in the long run."

Nikolas found a park bench he liked and sat. Tommy joined him. They sat in silence for a few moments. The night sounds of chirping crickets and whistling breezes did much to soothe Nikolas' agitation. He leaned his head back and stared at the midnight blue sky. Constellations glittered overhead like diamonds. A quarter moon hung high, keeping watch. He hoped it was watching over the woman he loved and that her 'companion' was keeping her safe.

"What are you gonna do, man?" Tommy asked.

"Find Dawn and make sure she's safe," he answered without hesitation.

"And then you'll marry Carly?"

He coughed once to ease the sudden tightness in his chest. "Yes."

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