From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success


There were as many reactions to Wyndemere’s Grand Hall as there were family members present.  Stefan, the first to arrive, was predictably non-reactive.  Alexis, Sabrina and Andresj’s mild surprise gave way to quiet approval and broad grins from the two women.  Faith Ward and young Mikaela brought up the rear.  The little girl was awestruck by the decorations of the Grand Hall.  She stared in open-mouthed wonder at the flickering lamps that softly illuminated the length of the massive room.

“Come in, everyone.”  Nikolas gestured the family forward.  “You are here because-” His gaze swept the room in search of Andresj’, who had somehow disappeared.  Before Nikolas could inquire about his younger brother, Andresj’ slipped back into the room.  Nikolas raised a brow at his momentary absence, but Andresj’ merely smiled cryptically.

Nikolas gazed at the faces of his family for a moment before reaching for his wife’s hand.  Even though they’d all figured out the meaning of the Grand Hall’s decorations, everyone present still exhaled in relief at seeing the young couple exchange a tender moment.  There had been only silence and distance between them since Nikolas’ ill-fated rush to London.  “Gia and I,” Nikolas smiled tenderly, “have chosen to begin our marriage again – with a clean slate.  And we wanted all our family to witness our new beginning.”  He nodded once; a guard standing beside a nearby antechamber opened its door.

Marcus?” Gia whispered.  Her stunned expression gave way to a blinding smile.  She squeezed Nikolas’ hand tightly and then rushed across the room into her older brother’s arms.

His wife’s joy at the sight of her older brother made everything Nikolas had done worthwhile.  Even the extremely brutal conversation he’d had with Marcus no longer stung.

“How did you get Marcus to agree to come?” Sabrina asked softly.

“I convinced him,” Nikolas replied simply, “that I would spend the rest of my life making his little sister happy.”

“I intend to hold you to that promise.”  Marcus and Gia rejoined the family group.  The handsome detective extended his hand and nodded when Nikolas readily did the same.

“Well, now that everyone is here, we can-”

“Just a moment,” Gia interrupted her husband.  She exchanged a quick glance with Andresj’, who nodded.  “You aren’t the only one with something to contribute.”

Curiously, Nikolas and the family watched as Andresj’ withdrew a small velvet pouch from the inside pocket of his suit coat.  He handed it to Gia, who murmured something that made Andresj’ smile. 

Gia turned to her husband.  “Here,” she reached for Nikolas’ right hand and turned it so that the palm faced upward.  Gia loosened the pouch and spilled its contents into Nikolas’ hand.  The family all leaned in to see the delicate little object.  All but Andresj’, who watched his older brother’s face intently. 

Gia?”  Nikolas’ voice was barely a whisper.

“You asked me why we were celebrating that night you left for London.”  Tears began to stream down the beautiful young woman’s face.  “I never got the chance to answer you.” 

Nikolas blanched as he fully realized what he had nearly lost because of one thoughtless act.  He looked down at the miniature Cassadine medallion in his palm.  “We’re going to have a baby?”

“Yes,” Gia smiled tremulously.  “I wanted to surprise you with it, but things… didn’t work out that night.”

Stefan gently grasped the delicate chain and medallion and lifted it from his eldest son’s hand.  He turned it over and inspected its handiwork.  “It has been crafted by our family’s jewelers,” he remarked. He did not bother to hide the mild surprise in his voice.  Stefan was having a bit of difficulty dealing with the numerous things that had of late somehow escaped his people’s attention.

Gia turned toward Andresj’.  “Yes.  Andresj’ helped me convince the jeweler to create it.”  She looked back at Nikolas.  “It is something new but something old.  The silver that it is made from is older than the very first Cassadine medallion, Andresj’ said.”

“Indeed,” Stefan raised an eyebrow at his younger son.  “And how would that be, Andresj’ Stefanovich?”

Andresj’ thought about the priceless Romanov goblet he’d had melted down for the baby’s medallion and winced. Stefan would not take the news well. “There will be more than enough time to discuss such matters later, Papa. Right now there is a wedding to take place.”  He turned to Nikolas with pleading in his eyes.  “Right, Kolya?”

Nikolas smiled and retrieved the tiny Cassadine medallion that represented all that was best of his future.  “Yes, little brother. It is time for our family’s new beginning.”

~ the end ~