Part Forty

Everything about the room called out for a pair of passionately entwined lovers to fall upon the hand-hewn bed and consummate their desires. The Egyptian cotton sheets were turned down invitingly on one side of the enormous bed. Cut crystal vases full of blood red roses created dark splashes of sensuality all about.

The room had changed. Barely noticeable was the air of dark menace so much a part of him. In its place was a pungent sexual aura that made the tiny, fine hairs upon the back of her neck stand at attention. It was a change that would not have perturbed her under different circumstances.

She stepped closer to the bed as though drawn there by the scent of him. The clean, masculine smell of his soap lingered in the air and mingled with the spicy scent of his cologne.

Two slender porcelain fingers lifted a dark blue peignoir from atop the pillows. Just as quickly, the offending item was released. Helena Cassadine sniffed disdainfully. She delicately rubbed her fingertips together as though the action would remove any trace of the lingerie from her flesh.

“Has life become so pedestrian that you are forced to resort to voyeurism, Mother?” Prince Stavros Cassadine retrieved his wife's sheer peignoir and folded it neatly. He placed it in a nearby dresser drawer with a tenderness that did not escape his mother's observant gaze. “Or is there a purpose for your unsolicited presence in my bedroom?”

“I am certain,” the Cassadine matriarch replied, “that your latest actions regarding Alexandra DiMera are designed to move us closer toward the achievement of our goals.”

Stavros understood his mother's statement for what it was – an icily couched demand for an explanation by him. “My actions, my reasons,” the Prince leveled a glare at his mother that matched the ice in her tone “ and my bride concern only me.”

Helena seethed at the timing of her eldest son's show of independence. No trace of her anger was evident in her face or voice as she responded to his words. “Of course, my darling. My only ambition is to assist you in reestablishing your hold upon the Cassadine family power. If you no longer wish to carry out the plans we made, you have only to inform me.”

Stavros laughed indulgently. “Your only ambition, Mother?” He ran a teasing finger up along her throat, tilting her head up to meet his dark gaze. “You possess ambitions the like of which I cannot even begin to comprehend.”

His thumb ran gently back and forth just below the sensitive skin of her lower lip. “You may continue with your plans, Mother. The house of DiMera and all in it are yours to do with as you please.” Stavros watched the faint evidence of a smile curve his mother's lips. “As long as you do not forget,” his fingers tightened upon her chin, “that Alexandra is now a Cassadine...and mine.”