Chapter 35

*Immediate Alliances*

Roger waited until Dawn was asleep before he slipped through the French doors and onto the secluded patio. Glowing lanterns and star-littered sky provided enough light for him to maneuver. But it wasn't like he needed it. Years in the military and as a mercenary heightened senses. Few things escaped him. He moved to the center of the brick-covered ground and called out, "I know you're here."

A six-foot plus frame pushed from the shadows. A faint chuckle sounded from the man. "Could never get one over on you, Loccoco."

"Magnum." Roger nodded in greeting. "Who sent you?"

"Does it matter?" The former Naval officer lowered his long form onto a cushioned bench. Stretching his legs out in front of him, he leaned against the railing.

"Yes, it does because if you don't give me the right answer, I'll be forced to kill you."

"I'm not here to hurt her," Magnum relied. "Nikolas Cassadine hired me. He's in love with her. He didn't mention a baby, though."

"He doesn't know," Roger said as he perched on the railing adjacent to the bench. "What does he want? Does he know you've found her?"

Magnum shook his head. "I haven't told him. When I wasn't informed about her pregnancy, I decided to do a little extra investigating. He wants her back. I'm not sure how he'd feel about another man's child--"

"The baby is his," Roger said. There were few people he trusted as much as Vinnie Terranova. Except for Quentin Hunter, Thomas Magnum, Theodore Calvin and Rick Wright. Combat in a Vietnamese jungle had a way of forcing immediate alliances. Years later, those alliances remained unchanged and he disclosed information that he normally wouldn't have. "She left before telling him."

Thomas Magnum released a low whistle. "This complicates things. He paid me to find her. He wants to see her. Did he abuse her? Is that why she didn't tell him?"

"I don't know the full details. She's not the talkative sort," Roger replied. "But from what I can gather, she loves him and she loves that baby."

"This puts me in an awkward position." The private investigator rose from the bench and stared over the English countryside. "He hired me to find her…I did… Who killed Terranova? Was it a hit on him or is someone after her?"

Grief and anguish warred inside Roger at the quietly asked question. Vinnie was the little brother he never had. Now, the kid was gone. Forever. Not avenging his best friend's death went against everything he believed in, but he made a promise. Not only to Vinnie but also to Quentin, the girl's father. He'd never gone back on his word with them before and he never would.

"Someone or something is after her. We've managed to dodge another attempt, but as the pregnancy progresses, running becomes difficult. She would probably be safer if she returned to Port Charles, but she won't listen."

He looked Thomas straight in the eyes. "What are you gonna do? Call the kid or pretend like this night never happened?"

"I don't know. I'll have to think about it."

~**~

"Hi."

Bobbie stepped from the elevator and straight into Justus' arms. Thrills of delight rippled through her. Despite the shitty state of her relationship with her kids, one glance into his warm brown eyes was like a vacation from her life. "What are you doing here?"

"Looking for you," he said. A grin peaked through his sexy goatee. He placed his arm around her waist and guided her outside toward a waiting limo. "Your carriage awaits."

She paused on the curb. Dumbstruck, she stammered, "Justus, what is this? My car is parked over there."

He took her hand as she pointed. His thumb circled the palm of her hand. Dizzying sensations skyrocketed from the light caress. His voice lowered to a husky growl, "Forget about your car. Come with me. Right now."

The intensity of his stare warmed her all over. This was what she'd needed for so long. Someone who wanted her, needed her and wasn't afraid to show it. Her stomach performed amazing flip flops as he closed his other hand around her waist and pulled her close.

"Yes, I'll come with you."

A swift drive from Port Charles to Manhattan awaited her. They shared good conversation, excellent wine and wonderful companionship. By the time they arrived in the City, Bobbie wanted nothing more than to continue to bask in Justus' presence.

The luxurious vehicle came to a stop outside the Ritz Carlton. The Concierge quickly opened their door and faster than Bobbie could blink, she and Justus stood alone inside a penthouse suite. The expensive furnishings overpowered her senses. What on earth was he up to?

"You needed a break," he said, coming to rest his hands on her shoulders, "and we needed to be really alone."

She turned to face him. "We've been alone before."

"Not really." He gently cupped her face between his strong, powerful, tender hands. "Not like this. There's always something between us in Port Charles that's prevented us from truly letting our guards down."

She averted her gaze for a moment. "I've been worried about Carly and Lucas. I'm their mother. It's my job to remain focused on them."

"Well, I want my job to be focused on you," he said softly. "It's not secret that I'm in love with you. I know that we may be moving faster than you'd like so right now, all I'm asking is that you'll think about marrying me."

Everything stopped. Her heart. All coherent thought. Everything. "Justus, I-I--"

"Ssh." He pressed his index finger to her lips. "Don't say anything. Just think about it. And in the meantime, let's enjoy our break from Port Charles. Is that okay with you?"

Slowly, she nodded, tingling by the love shining in his beautiful chocolate eyes. "Yes," she murmured. "That's perfect with me."

~**~

Simone collapsed on the exceptionally soft cushions of her sofa. Piles of boxes covered the floor of her brand new condo. She took a few days off from the hospital to sort through the insanity of unpacking. Tommy and Lynn offered to help, but she declined their offers. A serious purging was about to take place, and solitude was required.

Eight cardboard boxes lay empty when the doorbell rang. She hopped and jumped over them as she headed toward the door. On the way, she grabbed her wallet. The delicious aroma of her meat lover's pizza wafted through the walls and into her apartment. It was about time, too! Her stomach no longer growled, but roared. And after several hours of going through memories, she needed a break.

The doorbell chirped again just as she pulled open the door.

"I hope you don't mind," Doug said, extending the steaming pizza box toward her, "but I took the liberty of paying him. May I come in?"

A thousand questions went through her mind as she stood aside and allowed Doug Ross entry into her new home. The first and loudest being how the hell did he know? Was the rumor mill at GH that low? She swore the next time she saw Amy Vining, the nurse would get a serious earful. The gossip should have been told off a long time ago.

"Don't ask how I found out," he said after clearing a space on the dining room table for the pizza. He shrugged out of his jacket and threw over the back of a chair. "Do you have anything to drink?"

"I think there's Gatorade in the fridge." She followed him into the kitchen. "Doug, just what the hell do you think you're doing?"

"Getting us something to drink and making sure you take a break." He retrieved two 1-liter bottles and took them to the table. "You're a workaholic, Simone. You'd try to do it all in one night."

She stared at him, unsure as to how to proceed. Awhile ago, they promised to work together as professionals and possibly friends. Now, that she separated from Tom, what exactly did Doug expect from her?

"Don't give me that look," he said. "Wash your hands and join me. I promise not to bite anything other than the pizza."

"How good are you at keeping your word?"

His dark eyes pierced her honest sincerity. "As good as I'm a doctor. You're safe with me, Simone. I'm here as a friend and only that."

That was enough for her.

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