Part Forty-Five

The room cleared rapidly after Stavros' departure. In less than eight minutes the table had been cleared of dishes and stripped of its linens. Anthony DiMera might have been more impressed with the staff's precision if he had not been so concerned about his younger sister.

“Sister dearest,” he began as soon as the final Cassadine servant left the room, “what has our father done to you?”

Alexandra gently but resolutely pulled her hand away from Tony's. The smile she gave her brother was a feeble one. “Where are you staying tonight?”

Tony was not deterred by her change of subject. He was on a mission to discover the truth about Alexandra's circumstances, whether she wanted him to or not. “Whatever hellish pact our father has made with these people is not yours to fulfill.”

“Tony, don't do this here.”

An angry Tony DiMera looked past his sister. The members of her new family watched the siblings' exchange without any pretense of doing otherwise. “Why?” he demanded. “Because they are all listening?”

“Because I asked you.” Alexandra was already soft-spoken by nature. Now, Tony had to strain just to make out his sister's words. “Please.”

Tony had no problem hearing the distress in Alexandra's voice. And it brought him up short. He was so focused on forcing the truth to the surface that he was carelessly crushing his lovely sister in the process.

“Count DiMera…” Stefan Cassadine interrupted the apology that was poised on Tony's lips. “Perhaps the conversation you desire would be best served between us .” Stefan beckoned to his sister Sabrina. “Sabrina, would you and the others accompany the Princess back to her suite?”

Tony's jaw tightened at the ease with which Stefan made decisions for Alexandra's future. Deliberately, he positioned himself between Alexandra and her new ‘family'.

“I'll be safe with them, Tony.”

Alexandra's arms encircled him and for the briefest of moments she laid her head against the taut muscles of Tony's back. “Please, Tony,” he heard his sister say for his ears only, “go and find my mother. Find Celeste.”