Part Thirty-Nine

Things with Nikolas were very shaky. Every conversation Gia had with her princely fiancé inevitably found its way back around to Nikolas' father. The young woman honestly believed that she could easily go the remainder of her life without ever discussing that particular topic again.

As it was, she and Nikolas had argued about Stavros all of last night and most of the morning. She had to walk away from it all for awhile, or they would both say things that could not be taken back.

Gia cast a critical eye at her reflection in the mirror. She made a small adjustment to the narrow straps of her thin blouse and nodded with satisfaction. The former fashion model grabbed her handbag and searched through its contents. She did not feel complete without donning the pale shade of lipstick that was still one of her signature trademarks.

She put the finishing touches on her lips just as the rich chimes of the cottage doorbell filled the room. Gia made no effort to answer the summons, but instead gave her appearance a final perusal. She noted absently that after a single chorus of chimes, the cottage's impatient visitor ceased to announce himself.

Gia let out a muffled shriek as she pulled open the door to leave. The visitor had not departed as she had assumed. Instead, he stood patiently before the cottage's open front door.

“Good day, Miss.”

Behind her, Gia heard Nikolas come pounding down the stairs in response to her frightened cry. She watched a flicker of distaste and disapproval cross their visitor's countenance at Nikolas' unseemly arrival.

“Good day, Master Nikolas.” The Cassadine servant nodded respectfully before extending a white linen envelope. <“Your father the Prince has dispatched me with this invitation for you.”>

“Speak English,” Gia heard her fiancé angrily command the man. His instinctive response reminded her of just why she had fallen in love with Nikolas Cassadine in the first place. Despite the problems between them, Nikolas never failed to present a united front for anyone who questioned their solidarity as a couple.

Though the man was undoubtedly obeying his Prince's orders, his deliberate switch to speaking Russian before Gia was just another of his family's gestures of dismissal and disrespect for the woman Nikolas had chosen to marry. “You may tell my father,” Nikolas replied in a clipped voice, “that I have no desire to attend an event at which my intended bride is not welcome.”

The servant continued to extend the white linen envelope. “Prince Stavros has dispatched me with this dinner invitation for you. And Miss Campbell.”