Part Forty-Nine

Anthony DiMera hated returning to Salem alone. It was not the outcome he'd envisioned when he set out to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding his younger sister's sudden and unexpected marriage to Stavros Cassadine. Tony had made the trip to Port Charles for the sole purpose of removing Alexandra from the Cassadines' presence.

“Rolfe,” Tony interrupted his employee's excuses, “I don't care what Father has assigned you to do. Your new assignment is to locate Celeste. Quickly .”

Tony snapped his phone shut. A quick trip to Maison Blanche was in order, he decided. Now that he'd met Alexandra's husband, he was more concerned than ever about the reasons that would have compelled their father to entrust her to such an obviously twisted man. They could only spell disaster for the DiMera family as a whole; otherwise Stefano would have found some other means to handle the situation.

“File a new flight plan,” Tony ordered his pilot. “I don't want to return to Salem just yet. Take me to my father.” The change in plans would delay his departure from Port Charles at least another hour, but Tony did not mind. It would allow him time to study the dossier he held upon his lap. The thick file had arrived only moments earlier, couriered to him by the DiMera employee Rolfe. Its contents were the result of a night of feverish digging by Tony's very well-trained staff.

Before coming to New York, that same staff had spent days amassing information about Stavros Cassadine. Each bit of data on the Cassadine Prince added strokes to an increasingly disturbing picture. Tony realized, having spent time with the Prince and his family, that Alexandra faced a danger far greater than anything Stavros could present. Whether his younger sister realized it or not, she had begun to trust her husband's younger brother Stefan. No doubt, after Stavros' cruelty, Stefan's kindness would be like truffles to a starving Alexandra. He would be one of the ‘good guys'.

Tony had no faith in ‘good' men - simply because he believed himself to be a good man. And yet the list of terrible things he had committed in the cause of being nice was a long one.

The Count opened the dossier and spent several moments staring at the photographs enclosed. Each glossy picture represented a vulnerable area of Stefan Cassadine's emotional armor - his two sons, his sister, his fiancée. Stefan was gravely mistaken if he believed that Tony's final warning to him was a symbolic one. As long as Alexandra's safety was in the Cassadines' hands, Tony would find a way to ensure that the safety of Stefan's loved ones was in his.