The Bed You Make
Chapter 51

Although Philip enjoyed an affectionate relationship with his cousin Stefan, the chef was always careful to show the other man the proper deference owed to the head of the Cassadine family. Even in private, Philip limited his teasing to odd moments designed to remind Stefan of the lifelong kinship between them.

"So you maintain that my mother's visit was merely a fact-finding mission?"

"Please, Cousin. Auntie’s motives are never merely anything.” Philip took a sip of hot coffee. He marveled (as always) at the subtle mix of flavors that Mrs. Landsbury managed to infuse within a simple cup of plain, black coffee. “I do believe that her visit was just the usual fact-finding mission. She knows of my loyalty to you."

The words were not the usual wide-eyed declaration made by family members seeking to convince Stefan of their loyalty. They were a simple statement of fact. “Still," Stefan cautioned, "do not mistake my mother's inaction toward you for tolerance. She is not happy with your support of me."

Stefan beckoned to his Head of Security. Petrov had been standing so quietly nearby that his sudden presence was almost jarring. “Pardon us.”

Philip listened quietly as the two men discussed Helena’s visit to Xanthe. They deliberately conversed in a long-discarded dialect from nearly a century past. Philip only understood an occasional word. After a few moments, Stefan dismissed Yuri and gave his cousin his attention once more.

“Is the ‘business’ portion of this meeting over?” Philip asked.

“You have something personal to address?”

“Yes.” The chef got straight to the point. “How is Cousin Dara?”

"She is well," Stefan replied. "Should she not be?”

"The Little Prince was afraid you might be your own worst enemy. Yes,” Philip allowed, "I spoke with Nikolas last night. I didn't mention it to Petrov because Nikolas did not make a single mention of anything other than your time with your new wife.

“Stefan, he is hopeful for you.”

Stefan gave a long-suffering sigh. "Neither of you should be concerned about the state of my marriage. I am certain you both have more pressing matters to attend." He rose. “Now, if we are done…”

"I'm sorry, Cousin. Am I keeping you from something –or someone– more important?” Philip grinned. “I never would have answered your summons to come here this morning if I didn't know that you had already come up for air.” Philip never intended to intrude on Stefan’s private time with his new bride, but he knew that the details of Helena's visit to Xanthe -however benign it seemed- would be of interest to both Stefan and his security head.

"You should, perhaps, replace your informant among my staff. Someone with more access might have alerted you that I alone ‘came up for air’. Dara remains asleep in our suite of rooms."

Philip shrugged his shoulders. "I'll make a note to take care of that." He didn't deny that he had engaged one of Stefan's staff to act as his eyes and ears. He'd once told his cousin as much. Both men knew that if Stefan ever asked the identity of his employee, Philip would reply without hesitation.

Stefan had yet to ask.

Philip suspected he already knew.


bACK | continued