Francis opened Sonny's penthouse door and announced, "Miss Davis to see you, Boss."
"Let her in, Francis." Sonny rose to pour Alexis a cup of freshly brewed coffee.
"Good morning, Sonny, Benny." She accepted the steaming cup gratefully, and paused to inhale the aroma. "Would you like me to wait in the kitchen while you finish your meeting?"
"We're through. Right, Benny?"
"Sure, Sonny. I'll get right on this." Sonny's accountant gathered up his paperwork and left the penthouse.
"Should I ask what that was about?" Alexis inquired over the rim of her cup.
Michael Corinthos had to smile. When he told his attorney to let a thing go, she let it go. No muss, no fuss. There were no pleas to help or discussions of how trustworthy she was. All the things that had driven him crazy with Carly. She had to make every single thing a personal issue. But no more. The penthouse was quiet since the craziness that had forced Carly to take Michael and move into the Quartermaine mansion.
Andresj' walked into the room and found Nikolas and Stefan engaged in discussion. Before each man was a nearly empty plate.
"Good morning, my son, although the morning is nearly gone," Stefan teased. "Nikolas and I breakfasted some time ago."
"I suppose being the most special Cassadine on the planet was harder work than he imagined. Was it, Brother?"
Andresj' made a face at Nikolas. "Good morning, Papa. If I had known I would be forced to endure a comedy routine, I would have stayed in bed awhile longer."
"There is no time for lounging today," Stefan said, becoming serious. "You are required at General Hospital this afternoon."
"Why? What's going on?"
"We will meet at the launch at two," Stefan said, by way of answer. "Do not be late." He gathered up his things and exited the room.
Andresj' turned to Nikolas. "What's going on?"
"I do not know."
"Well, what were you and Father discussing when I walked in?"
"Nothing that involved going to General Hospital. We were reviewing the various requests for meetings that were made last night," Nikolas answered. "Even though the family was content to deal with the two of us and Alexis, most still want to have a private audience with Father."
"That's no surprise," Andresj' agreed between bites of food. "The majority of people there were there for Father's sake, not mine."
"I know some people who were there just for you," Nikolas added slyly. "In fact, you couldn't seem to keep your eyes off one of them."
"Nikolas-" Andresj' warned.
"Don't worry. Father has gone to his study to wait for Alexis."
"Yes . . . Where are you going?" Nikolas asked.
Andresj' paused at the doorway. "To the launch. Maybe if I catch Alexis before she meets with Father, I can find out what is going on."
Luke awoke with a sneeze, nearly throwing his lean frame off the sofa. Immediately he recognized his surroundings, but had a moment's confusion about what he had done to end up on the couch.
‘Oh yeah,' he thought, ‘I don't live here anymore. At least, not since the Cowboy-‘
"Good morning, Luke!" His thoughts were interrupted by his wife Laura.
"Morning, darlin'." Luke stretched and yawned. "Either this thing has shrunk or I am out of practice."
"It's been awhile. So, will you be staying for breakfast?"
"Nope, but thanks for the invite. Rain check?" he asked.
"Always," Laura replied. "By the way, why is your shirt on the wrong side?"
Luke looked down. His shirt was indeed inside out. In his haste to dress after drying his clothes, he had not noticed. "I guess I'm just a restless sleeper, darlin'."
Andresj' stood waiting as Alexis left the launch. He could not prevent the smile that spread across his handsome features as she finally reached the top step. "Are you getting old, Alexis? I have been waiting here quite awhile as you climbed the steps."
"Hey!" Alexis exclaimed, quickly embracing her nephew with her free arm. "Don't you know that you never tease a woman about her age?"
"I am sorry." Andresj' relieved her of her briefcase. "Let me get that for my favorite aunt."
"Oh, no. Why does that statement leave me wary?" She came to a sudden stop. "And I am your only aunt, thank you very much."
"This is true. I do believe that my feelings are hurt, though. Do you truly believe my only reason for meeting you here was because I want something of you?"
Alexis tilted her head to one side and narrowed her eyes.
"Very well. I only want to know why I am to accompany Father to General Hospital this afternoon."
"What did Stefan tell you?" Alexis asked casually.
"Just that I am to be ready at two to accompany him to the hospital."
"I am sure Stefan will explain what is going on then."
Andresj' searched his aunt's face for any indication of what was happening. "Theia," he uttered quietly, "please."
She gave him a reassuring smile. "Talk to your father."
Six months. It had been six months since life for everyone in the penthouse had changed. Sonny remembered the day as clearly as if it had just happened. Once again, people he loved had met with the destruction that came from having him in their lives. Carly, Michael, Jason, Leticia, Pete, Vinnie . . . They'd all paid the price in some way. Leticia, Pete and Michael most of all.
He didn't blame Carly for bailing on that life. After what went down with Michael, they all had received a reality check. Of everyone involved, Sonny knew that the fairytale life they'd constructed in the penthouse was just borrowed time and sooner or later a moment of reckoning would come. Carly was clueless, trusting that he and Jason had the power to control any and every situation.
But Jason - his world had been shaken to its very core. In some ways he believed he was invincible. He had prepared unemotionally for every eventuality but one. That someone would consider himself more powerful than Jason or Sonny, and then act on it. Consumed with anger and guilt over his failure, Jason had nearly begun a turf war that surely would have left the streets of Port Charles swimming in blood. Thankfully, calmer heads had prevailed. Sonny took complete control, dispatching his men into the city's dark corners and alleys with orders not to return until they found the person or persons responsible.
Inside the plush limousine, Stefan sat and stared at his son. As soon as he and ‘Dre had climbed inside he'd activated and locked the privacy glass between the driver and themselves - something he almost never did on short rides. Now he sat motionless, his gaze boring a hole into his son's very soul it seemed.
Andresj' had not seen his father like this in some time. The last time had been when Stefan had informed him that Nikolas was really his son, not his nephew, and that he had known this fact all along. He had the same body language as back then. Whatever he was about to say must be truly serious, Andresj' thought.
"Am I ill, Papa?" he asked hesitantly.
Stefan mentally berated himself. His cryptic behavior regarding their hospital visit had no doubt put such thoughts in Andresj's mind. "No, no, my son. You are perfectly healthy." He paused. "I would like to have a DNA test performed on your blood."
"A DNA test? Why?"
"A woman has come forth claiming knowledge of your father and mother," Stefan answered somewhat evasively.
Andresj' could not catch his breath. His father's statement hit him with all the force of a battering ram. It was the realization of all his childhood nightmares. "Th-they want to take me away from you," he stammered, when he could finally speak.
"Never!" Stefan hastened to reassure him. "I would never allow such to happen!"
"You believe this woman speaks the truth, or you would not have me test my blood!"
"The test is not for her benefit, but ours. You must trust me on this."
His son's panicked expression showed Stefan that he was not convinced. He tried to coax a smile from him. "You are mine," Stefan said lightly. "Have you ever known your papa to surrender anything that was his?"
"Then why must we do this?" Andresj' cried.
Stefan sat forward and grasped Andresj's hands in his. "Listen to me," he began, jerking Dre's hands lightly to get his attention. "If you believe nothing else I have ever told you, believe this. There is no power on earth or in the very cosmos that can change the fact that you are my son. Andresj' Mikhail Stefanovich Cassadine. And so shall you always be."
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*General Hospital and its characters are not mine. I make no profit from this. The characters Andresj' Cassadine, and Diane Jennings are my creation.*