Part Forty-Three

The arrival of two more dinner guests broke the tense atmosphere that reigned following Stavros' smiling statement to his wife. Nikolas, the Prince's son, and his fiancée Gia Campbell stood just inside the doorway.

It was easy to read the young couple's body language. Both young people waited hesitantly but defiantly for the reactions of the others seated at the ornate table.

Gia Campbell looked every inch the fashion model. The pale yellow silk dress she wore lovingly followed the slight curves of her body. Her makeup and nails were flawless and her beaded tresses pulled back off her face.

Nikolas, by contrast, seemed dressed to shock. He was clad in a pair of khaki pants and a brilliant red pullover shirt that he wore with the top two buttons undone.

“Despite his … common appearance,” Stavros addressed his new brother-in-law, “this is my son Nikolas.” The tightening of his jaw spoke volumes about Stavros' anger. “You are late,” he chided the couple. The Prince gestured sharply and two more place settings were promptly put into place.

It was no mistake that Nikolas and Gia were seated furthest from the head of the table. Stavros wished to send a barely veiled message to his son that Nikolas was dangerously out of favor with his father.

Stefan and Sabrina immediately realized the significance of the dinner order. In more pleasant times, Stavros would have had Nikolas seated directly at his right hand. The Prince took his title quite seriously, and believed staunchly in the outdated traditions that accompanied it. Nikolas was heir to the Cassadine title and as such was only surpassed in importance by his father.

“Ah, yes,” Stavros added, “I should also introduce Miss Campbell.” All heads turned Gia's way. “Miss Campbell is a model ,” he enunciated the word. “And the woman my son wishes to marry.”

“The woman I am going to marry,” Nikolas insisted heatedly.

“We shall see.” Stavros smiled cryptically at Nikolas and Gia. “Now, shall we dine?”