The Bed You Make
Chapter 33
~ Manifest Content ~

Dara lay frozen on her side of the mammoth bed. She'd never felt so fragile or alone. A single movement would send the flood of tears she held at bay cascading over her soul. And she would drown.

Alex Garcia's words kept playing over and over in her head. Not so much because of what he'd said, but because of the absolute disillusionment with which he'd said them. 'Where is your self-respect, Dara?'

She was finding it awfully cold comfort to know that she hadn't married Stefan Cassadine for the money or the lifestyle. She'd married him to take down the biggest criminal threat Port Charles had ever seen.

Dara wasn't naïve enough to think that Stefan also lay awake wrestling with the night's events. He'd made it clear that a clean break from Detective Alejandro Garcia should have taken place weeks ago. "Stefan?" Desperation made her reach out to him. "Please be awake," she whispered.

"What is it?" His response was immediate, and more than likely just another example of his light sleeping habits.

"I know you don't care that I lost Alex's respect tonight. And I know you don't understand why that hurts me so much," the words tumbled from Dara's lips. "But it does. And I feel like I'm choking on the pain."

"What would you have me do?"

"Just for tonight let me lean on you." The words were so soft that they were nearly inaudible. "Let me drop my guard and not worry that you'll use my vulnerability against me."

Dara felt Stefan's strong hands pull her back against him. "That is a reasonable request."

They lay in silence. There was comfort in the strength of Stefan's embrace. And despite her sorrow, Dara could feel her eyelids grow heavy. "I feel you relaxing," Stefan murmured in her ear. "That is helpful."

Helpful ?

A blinding pain derailed all thought. Dara's breath caught and her eyes flew open. "You promised !" she gazed with horror down at her chest.

"It was a promise you knew I was incapable of keeping," Stefan replied as he cut Dara open from her throat to her navel with a razor-sharp dagger. "Now, let us see what secrets you are hiding."