Missing Link

Molly Lansing Ashford was Natasha's younger daughter. She was a bright, personable young woman and Stefan looked forward to lively conversations with her whenever she and her young husband came to visit.

Molly was, of course, the product of Natasha's puzzling attraction to the male denizens of the seedy underworld. She'd not known of Richard Lansing’s underworld connection; he successfully masqueraded as an attorney, after all. But, Stefan mused ruefully, Natasha had somehow instinctively maneuvered herself into the man's orbit - only to discover that Richard Lansing was the half-brother of mobster Sonny Corinthos. A small voice pointed out to Stefan that it might have been Lansing's similarity to Corinthos that drew Natasha in.

A most distasteful thought.

Still, despite her parentage, Molly was a welcomed addition to the Cassadine family. So, too, was her young husband, Thomas James Ashford. Called “TJ” by all in the family but Stefan, he was a quiet, deliberate young man whose steady demeanor was a needed counterbalance to Molly's sometimes headstrong impulses.

Observers sometimes mistook TJ's silence for a lack of contribution to the conversation. Stefan had been pleased to discover the error of their assumption. The young man possessed a healthy appetite for knowledge of the small but important things Stefan had imparted to his sons while children.

While growing up, TJ had not been without male presence in his life. Those men were set on steering the young man's proverbial boat away from certain murky waters. Once past the danger, they’d taken their hands off the helm. Stefan did not believe in such an approach. He believed that direction and guidance of one‘s children was a lifelong responsibility.

And so Stefan crafted a secondary course of study for both TJ and Molly that encompassed a wide array of topics. At first they together met Stefan regularly to assess their development. Over time (as TJ grew more assured of Stefan's genuine interest in his wellbeing), the watchful young man cultivated a relationship with Stefan that was separate from that of his young wife. It was no longer unusual for TJ to make visits to Wyndemere alone.

Stefan was curious as to the purpose of his upcoming meeting with the young couple. Molly had approached him as he and Faith were seated in the conservatory waiting for one of the servants to serve them lunch. She'd asked for a few moments in the study when lunch was done.

He did not have long to wait.

"Hello, Uncle." Molly and TJ greeted him in unison. They took a seat opposite Stefan and then glanced at one another. After a moment, TJ began to speak.

"There's a woman who lives in our building-"

"She's really only a little bit older than us," Molly interjected.

TJ took the interruption in stride. Stefan suspected that it was not an uncommon occurrence. "There's a young woman that we know in our building. She's been really nice to me-and Molly-since I first moved into the building. She offered to be one of my references so that I could get the apartment." TJ paused to make sure Stefan was following.

"She says that she knew in her bones what kind of person TJ was.”


"Sorry." TJ winced. "Her name is Dani Ramsay. She is a craftsman. An artist, really. But she hates it whenever somebody calls her that."

Molly retrieved her smartphone from her pocket and handed it to her uncle. "She- Dani makes the most beautiful things." Molly gestured for Stefan to browse through her open picture gallery. "Ceramics, sculptures… But blown glass is her favorite."

Stefan was riveted by a photo of an elaborately exquisite glass figurine. Its delicate hue matched perfectly that of Faith's blue eyes - a gift, she reasoned, from her grandfather Edward and his Quartermaine side of the family.

"I know what you said last week." TJ paused as Molly slipped her hand into his. "But I was hoping you would find room for Dani in the group of people who might be saved."

Stefan glanced away from the photo of the figurine. He'd strongly suspected -when Molly approached him- that such a request might be in the making. Since informing everyone on the list about the details of their possible survival effort, Stefan had been beset by requests to ‘save’ various friends and relatives not chosen to make the survival attempt.

Unlike the other requests, Stefan gave this one serious consideration. He could not deny the young woman's artistic talent. If their limited group survived the world catastrophe, then artists would be as vital a part of the New World order as scientists and laborers. "Perhaps…"

"She's not just an artist," Molly hurried to add. "She's a kind of math genius, too."

"I hope you can find a way to meet her, Uncle.” It had taken TJ some time to grow comfortable with addressing Stefan that way. “If you do, I know you will see what I see. She's the kind of woman Andresj could really like."

The unexpected statement caught Stefan totally off guard. "I can't explain why," TJ continued. "But Molly agrees with me. In fact, before all this happened, we were trying to find a way to get them both over for dinner."

Whatever reply Stefan would have made was cut short when he absently scrolled to the next photo in Molly’s picture gallery. The digital photo before him was of a striking young woman with a fall of glossy black hair. She grinned into the camera, her right hand held in a deliberate gesture. "Miss Ramsey is familiar with American Sign Language,” Stefan casually observed.

Molly leaned over her uncle's desk. "Yes, she's deaf," Molly explained. "But she also reads lips for anyone who doesn't sign."

Stefan was filled with a surprising -and unexpected- sense of disappointment (an occurrence he would most certainly examine at a later time). One of the first conditions set for this survival attempt was that any person with a genetic predisposition of any form would be eliminated from consideration. The scientist Barrington put forth the condition in the initial meeting of experts and seemed more than a little surprised when Stefan agreed without hesitation.

"When she was 19, she was hit by a drunk driver," TJ elaborated. "Dani says she was in a coma for a few days, and when she woke up she had lost her hearing but gained all the math and artistic stuff."

"You are saying that Miss Ramsey was not born hearing impaired?"


“I see." And just like that Dani Ramsey was once again a possibility for Stefan to explore. "I will take your impressions into consideration,” he announced. “But I make no promises.”



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