“Thank you, Mrs. Landsbury, but we won't be needing anything more than some juice and maybe some fresh fruit.”

“Of course, Miss Natasha.” The longtime Cassadine retainer refused to call Alexis anything other than ‘Natasha' ever since the truth of her paternity came to light. “And when is the gentleman scheduled to arrive?”

Alexis peered out of the window across Spoon Lake. “He is probably at the docks right now.” She hated the breathless quality of her response. Even to her own ears she sounded girlish and giddy.

“In that case,” Mrs. Landsbury said, “I will go and see that Miss Kristina is ready for company.”

“Thank you.”

The mention of Kristina's name was sobering. Alexis recalled the purpose of today's visit and felt a twinge of guilt at her happiness. Marcus Taggert was on his way to Wyndemere at Alexis' request. She had explained to Marcus that she needed to hear the details of Sonny's transfer directly from him. It would go a long way toward reassuring the attorney that the father of her child would somehow survive his incarceration.

Alexis knew that it was only Marcus' feelings for her that made him consent to travel to the Cassadine holdings on Spoon Island. Marcus had little or no affection for Alexis' older brother Stefan. And for Stefan the feeling was mutual.

Alexis didn't realize how deep in thought she'd been until her daughter Kristina made her way recklessly into the room. At just over two years old, Kristina moved throughout her days at full speed. The only time the little girl came to a stop was when she was asleep.

“Well, hello, Punkin!” Alexis swept the little girl up in her arms. “You look so pretty! Uncle Marcus is going to just love you.”

The constant whirr of a camera's lens reminded Alexis that she and Kristina were not alone. “That's enough,” she directed the exclusive photographer. “I would like you to get one photograph of Kristina meeting our guest. After that,” Alexis instructed, “I won't be needing you again until tomorrow.”

Even though the photographer had been selected because of his loyalty and discretion, as a Cassadine Alexis knew that every person had a price. Sonny's incarceration was no reason to become careless with the truth about Kristina's paternity. Alexis had kept the truth from Kristina's father for two years. And after the recent destruction heaped upon Sonny's life, she was prepared to keep it for many more.

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