Chapter 19


*Six quick paces to the table, a turn, and six paces back toward the phone.*

A prescription for Prozac would definitely mellow her out', he thought, watching his co-conspirator pace the room. If I still had medical privileges I would write her one.' At the moment, her nervous energy was exhausting.

"Incompetents!" she paused in her pacing to scream. "I've hired incompetents!"

"Someone will report in any moment now," the man said, lazily spearing a piece of lobster tail. "So relax. You're spoiling my supper with all this yelling."

"Oh, shut up! If I relied on you to get things done, this plan would never succeed."

"I beg your pardon? You didn't have a problem asking me to go down to Louisiana."

"Asking you? Don't flatter yourself. You may have been some big-shot doctor once, but now you are just another nobody whose only hope is that my plan succeeds."

Diane was impressed. This party was like something she had only seen on television. Women draped in diamonds conversed with men cloaked in power; while food and drink flowed from a seemingly unending source.

Every aspect of this celebration - including behind the scenes - was first class. Stefan had led them through a huge kitchen off the ballroom into the room where they now sat. Diane had gotten to meet world-renown chef Emeril Lagasse', who was busy creating edible masterpieces for the guests. Upon hearing that she was from Louisiana, Emeril promised to create something special for her before the evening was over. And he did. Shortly after she and Justus had settled in, two waiters brought in several large trays of foods that they had not been able to put a dent in.

Though she tried not to, Diane found herself mentally calculating the sheer expense of it all. "I don't think that I could ever get used to living this way."

"Maybe you should exhale," Justus suggested, refilling her glass with champagne. He gave her that little half-smile which Diane found more attractive each time it appeared.

They had both smiled quite a bit during the hour or so at Wyndemere. For her part, she couldn't help it. Justus was a charming man with a lightning quick wit. While she gaped open-mouthed at the vast array of jewelry on display, he kept up a running commentary on everyone who drifted past their view.

By now most of the guests had departed and Diane was able to get her first clear look at Andresj'. Unbidden, tears filled her eyes. "He looks so much like Alyse," Diane whispered. "What is he like?"

"I don't know Andresj' very well," Justus replied. "Stefan and his family have only been in Port Charles a few years now. My cousin Keesha knows him pretty well and she is impressed. Believe me, she is not an easy person to impress."

"So, what now? Do you think I will get to meet him tonight?"

"That is up to Stefan. And since things are winding down, we will know soon enough."

The last of the guests departed by launch, along with Nikolas, who had escorted Elizabeth, Emily and Laura home. All that remained of the night's bacchanalia were scattered trays and empty glasses. The servants moved efficiently throughout the ballroom removing trays and dismantling tables.

"You did quite well in my absence, Alexis," Stefan complimented. "As always, my trust in you was not misplaced."

"Will you tell me now why you were absent?"

"Of course. It was my intention to do so after all the guests had departed." Stefan looked around the room. "A most extraordinary thing has happened," he said, directing her to walk with him. "I met with a woman who knew Andresj's mother."

"Yes?"

"She gave me this letter." Stefan handed Alexis the letter and walked in silence as she read.

Alexis came to a sudden stop. Shocked, she turned and searched Stefan's face for the truth. "This is real?" she gasped.

"I have come to believe so," was Stefan's quiet reply.

"He is your son . . . Andresj' is your son." A sudden realization hit her. "Helena," Alexis hissed, "only Helena would have done this! And it would all make sense!"

"I am in agreement. And if my mother has played some part in this deception, then she will pay. I swear it! But for now, I will concern myself with obtaining proof of Andresj's paternity. Come."

"Where are we going?"

"I would like you to meet Diane Jennings, the woman who has set into motion this chain of events." Stefan led Alexis to the room where Diane and Justus sat. "Ah," he nodded as he spied the trays of food and drink, "the staff has seen to your needs. Good. I would like you to meet my attorney, Alexis Davis. Miss Davis is also my half-sister."

"Hello." Alexis briskly shook hands with the woman. Gone was any trace of the shock she had felt upon reading Stefan's letter. Alexis' lawyer persona was now in place, and she took the opportunity to examine Diane from head to foot.

Her curiosity momentarily satisfied, she greeted Justus. "Hello to you, too!" Alexis said warmly, leaning forward to give him a quick peck on the cheek. The two had become close friends, a fact that helped put another nail in the coffin of her relationship with Justus' cousin Ned Ashton. "No wonder Keesha asked me if I knew when you would arrive."

"Yes, I told her I was with Stefan. I didn't want her to worry," Justus explained.

"Justus has been a great help to me thus far, Alexis. I have invited his counsel on this matter," Stefan explained.

"Good." Her fellow attorney's involvement in this situation made Alexis less wary about it all. It would be good to have an outside opinion.

"From this point on, any parties I attend will seem pale in comparison to this," Keesha noted.

"I hope so." Andresj' flashed a mischievous smile. "Otherwise, Papa wasted a lot of money."

Andresj' stood waiting with Keesha as the launch docked after transporting guests from the island. Now that the bacchanalia was officially ended, things were slowly returning to normal at Wyndemere.

"Well, tomorrow it is back to reality for us all," she observed.

"Probably. But tomorrow will take care of itself. Right now there is only tonight - and us."

Whatever Andresj' planned to say was interrupted when a uniformed crewman came forward to escort Keesha aboard. He waved the man away, choosing to assist her himself. "I am sorry that I cannot escort you to your apartment, Keesha. There are still a few people remaining at Wyndemere. It would not be proper for me to leave them." Andresj' stepped onto the launch and reached for her hand. As she stepped carefully onto the launch, he said "Thank you."

"For what?" She looked up in time to see him lower his mouth to hers in a gentle kiss.

"For making tonight a perfect memory," he breathed against her lips. "I will dream of you," he whispered. "Goodnight."

Shaken, Keesha watched Andresj' depart. If she wasn't careful, he would make her forget that there was no future for the two of them.

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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.*