Part Five

“I don't understand why Gia was not allowed to attend your wedding with me,” Nikolas complained. “Uncle was allowed to bring his fiancée'. Why was I not?”

Stavros snorted disdainfully. “Stefan will not command this family some day. His paramours are unimportant.” The Cassadine Prince looked upon the son he had created with Laura Spencer all those many years ago. “Your presence here pleases me, my son. It is fitting that the family behold its future.”

Nikolas shrugged noncommittally. The gesture drew Stavros' attention to the brightly colored jacket his son wore. “Was there no suitable attire at your disposal?”

The implied criticism stung Nikolas, and his ever-present scowl returned full force. “There is nothing wrong with what I'm wearing,” he muttered.

“No,” Stavros agreed, “not if you are a court jester. What has become of your training, Kolya? Has my weakling brother allowed you to become so Americanized that you no longer recognize the elements of class?”

“Uncle has not allowed me anything. I am my own man.”

Stavros laughed harshly. “But you are not.” He stood nose-to-nose with his angry son. “You are my son, my heir. Just as your life was mine to create, so is it mine to command... You wished to know why Miss Campbell was not invited to attend such an important family function? It is simple. She is unworthy to do so.”

Nikolas stiffened in outrage. “You don't-”

“She is not fit to bear the title Princess Cassadine,” Stavros continued as though Nikolas had not spoken. “If you wish to keep her as a mistress, I shall allow it. It is, I believe, a more suitable station for her.” The Prince's voice hardened. “But there will never be anything more where she is concerned. I will not allow it.”

“You can't stop me from marrying Gia!” Nikolas cried.

A smile worthy of the depths of hell graced Stavros' countenance. Any further words were unnecessary.