Part Forty-One

Alexandra did not care that everyone in the room could see her obvious joy at the sight of her older brother Tony. “Tony!” she cried, and hastened across the room into his warm embrace.

Tony DiMera hugged Alexandra tightly. “Alexandra…” He pulled back and examined his sister from head to foot. “How are you, sister dear?”

“I am just fine, Tony,” she replied cheerfully. But it was a cheer that did not reach Alexandra's eyes. The young woman was suddenly all too aware of the watchful eyes within the room. “Your visit is such a wonderful surprise! Come and let me introduce you to my new husband's family.”

Tony's sharp gaze did not miss the blank mask that shaded Alexandra's features at the mention of her husband. He mentally filed away her reaction as the first evidence he had seen that all was not right with his sister's unexpected marriage to Stavros Cassadine.

When Tony had first confronted their father Stefano for the truth about the union, the manipulative head of the DiMera family reassured him that Alexandra had joined with Stavros willingly.

A cleared throat near the doorway drew Tony's attention away from his sister. A solemn Cassadine servant dressed all in black stepped just inside the threshold of the room and announced dramatically, “Prince Stavros has arrived.”

Tony got his first close-up glimpse of the man who was now Alexandra's husband and mate. Stavros closed the distance between them with a calculated stride that reminded Tony of the grand marshal of a circus he had once attended as a child. Watching Stavros, Tony thought unkindly, you could almost believe you were eyeing Windsor's crown prince, and not some self-important heir to a paper kingdom.

“Tony,” Alexandra said softly, “I would like you to meet my husband, Prince Stavros Cassadine.”

The two men stared at one another in a silent battle of wills. Tony felt his sister's silent plea for his cooperation in the gentle way in which Alexandra squeezed his forearm.

“Prince Stavros,” Tony was at his most urbane, “it is good that we have this chance to meet. I would like to know more about the man my sister calls husband.”

Even as Tony shook Alexandra's husband's hand, he began to formulate a plan to free his sister from a marriage that could not possibly bode her any good.