When the call had come, she'd been unable to refuse. Her schedule was rearranged and her life momentarily put on hold. She had not boarded the private jet to New York out of obligation, but friendship. An unlikely friendship, but friendship nonetheless.

The jet was stocked with food and drink, as well as current newspapers from several time zones. As she sank into one of the plush leather seats, her eyes spotted a small silver bowl of shelled pecans. They were her favorite indulgence, and a personal touch she appreciated.

A limousine met her at the airport. The chauffeur waited patiently to handle her baggage. His eyes widened in appreciation at the picture she presented. Everything about her personified style; from the dark curls and elegant neck to the long legs which seemed to go on forever.

The limousine sped directly to its destination, allowing the woman an opportunity to review her folder once more. She definitely had her work cut out.

Luke was here.
The words were scratched crookedly in the wall's surface.

Stefan sniffed disdainfully. ‘It would be the sort of childish act Luke Spencer would engage in.' No doubt his foe had spent his time in jail finding ways to pass the days. Stefan had no intention of being incarcerated very much longer. It had already been several hours since his arrest.

“Cassadine,” the young officer said, “you've got a visitor.” Stefan looked around hopefully. Perhaps Nikolas had found it within himself to forgive his deception. Stefan's ultimate purpose, after all, had been the protection of his family. Instead of his nephew's face, he was greeted by the unsmiling visage of his half-sister Natasha.

“How dare you!” she spit out. “How dare you do that to Nikolas and me! We grieved for you. I grieved for you!”

“It was a necessary deception, Natasha. Helena would have believed nothing less than my death.”

“You could have told me! I would have found ways to keep up Nikolas' hope without breaking his heart.” She grabbed the cell bars. “My God, Stefan, do you know how you hurt him?”

“I will make Nikolas understand. And you.” He stepped toward her. “But first I must be released from this place.”

“You want me to act as your lawyer?! Business as usual, like nothing happened?! ” Alexis stared in disbelief at the brother she had long adored.

“We are family, Natasha.”

“You should have thought of that when you faked your death.” Her heart breaking, Alexis turned and left the jail.

She strode purposefully into the Port Charles police station, pausing when she reached the swinging doors that marked the official work area. Several uniformed officers looked up from their tasks, attention caught by the tall, elegant beauty awaiting acknowledgment. Even as they rose to grant her assistance, Detective Marcus Taggert's voice cut through the noisy room. “I'll handle this, guys.”

“I'm Detective Marcus Taggert.” He stuck out his hand. “And you are . . .?”

“Jessica Griffin. I'm here to see my client - Stefan Cassadine.”