Strange Bedfellows

A mound of white paper teetered near the desk's edge before a clerk reached out to secure it. All those documents left to sign. Dara was sure that she had penned her signature at least two hundred times, with a seemingly equal number of times yet to go. "Remind me again why I am doing this," she demanded softly of Stefan, flexing her fingers to relieve cramps.

"You have agreed because it is a small price to pay for what you will receive in return." Noting Dara's skeptical expression, Stefan turned to the clerk. "May we have a moment, please?"

The curious clerk moved reluctantly from the room. He stopped just beyond the open door and stood watching the unusual couple within.

"This endeavor will not withstand less than absolute effort." Stefan's voice was low. "It is not too late to change your mind. I will not hold it against you."

"If I change my mind now, I lose any chance at what you hold." Dara's statement was less a question than a confirmation of something she already knew.

"Of course." Stefan's smile was wry. "There would be no gain in my helping you then."

Dara had to hand it to him. On that point he was quite honest. She had no illusions, though, that Stefan Cassadine's sudden honest streak extended very much further into the details of their arrangement.

She took a deep breath and exhaled. Not for the first time she questioned the bargain she had made with the devil. And that was exactly how the competent young attorney thought of the deal she and Stefan Cassadine had struck. "Promise me I'm not making a mistake and I won't regret this."

"I promise you are not making a mistake and you will not regret this."

He sounded so sincere. Dara searched Stefan's aristocratic features for . . . something; whatever she had seen that had caused her to commit to this insanity in the first place.

Even as she motioned for the clerk to re-enter the room, Dara marveled at the path she now willingly set her feet on. "I will hold you to that promise."