Part Forty-Eight

The guards stepped aside and allowed Nikolas to assist his fiancée onto the launch. Silently the five oversized Russians took their places about the boat and awaited the order to set out for the docks of Port Charles.

“I will have a car sent for you at ten a.m. tomorrow.” Prince Stavros' words were not a request. “I wish to speak with you. Alone.

“How many times,” Nikolas harshly replied, “do I have to say it?” His need to assert himself in front of his father and his fiancée made the young man dangerously bold. “You and I have nothing to discuss.”

Prince Stavros Nikolai Mikkosovich Cassadine gave his son a withering glance. “My words were not addressed to you. It is Miss Campbell with whom I intend to meet.”

A form-fitting mango-colored sheath flew through the air. It landed atop the pile of other dresses heaped onto the center of the big king-sized bed. “I don't see,” Nikolas protested sullenly as he dodged flying clothing, “why you can't just respect my wishes on this.”

Gia threw another dress atop the pile. “Because this is my chance to talk to your father face-to-face, Nikolas. And if that is what it takes to make him realize that nothing will make me leave you, then I'll do it.”

“He really doesn't want to talk with you.” Nikolas could not bring himself to address Stavros as his father. “This is just another one of his manipulations.”

Gia finally settled on a simple mauve dress that was understated but chic. “I'm from Brooklyn, Nikolas. You don't grow up in New York without learning how to handle tricky situations.”

Nikolas leaped from the bed. “He is not just some tricky situation. He is dangerous and unpredictable and out of your league – Brooklyn or not!”

“I suppose you would be better at handling him?” Gia smirked. “You can't even bring yourself to accept that he is your father.” The young woman grabbed a handful of silk from a drawer and headed for the bathroom. “I'll take my chances,” Gia threw back over her shoulder. “I am going to this meeting.”

An irrational urge to roar with frustration overcame Nikolas. Years of conditioning would not allow him to give in to that urge, however. He grabbed the phone from beside the bed and went down the stairs for a bit of privacy.

“I need you to do something,” Nikolas said as soon as he heard the connection made. He was aware that his tone of voice was hardly one that would encourage cooperation. “If you can't – or don't want to,” he added sullenly, “then let me know now.”