The Path to Power

Chapter Nineteen




Picking Locks




"What on Earth do you think you're doing!" Mrs. Lansbury protests looking around for a weapon.

"Zander!" Tasha races to the window. "Mrs. Lansbury didn't tell me you were coming over. Only Marcus and Dr. Cam."

"That's because Lt. Taggart and Dr. Lewis use the front door." Mrs. L sniffs. But since Miss Natasha seems to recognize the burglar she instead of raising the alarm or bashing the young man over the head helps him into the room.

"Sorry." Zander half falls in the window and quickly regains his balance. "I was over at Dara Jensen's; she said that Scott Baldwin was over here."

"Miss Tasha, why don't you go pick out a ribbon for your hair?" Mrs. Lansbury suggests.

"Okay, Mrs. Lansbury!" Natasha goes into the bathroom and starts tearing apart the lower drawer of the vanity looking for the right ribbon.

"Master Stefan does not want Miss Tasha upset." Mrs. L hisses as soon as Tasha is out of the room.

"Me either." Zander agrees. "So what's the plan and how can I help? And how in the hell did Baldwin even get on the island?"

"How did you?!" Mrs. Lansbury demands with a raised brow.

"Borrowed a boat." Zander shrugs.

"You have a boat?" Alexis comes out of the bathroom carrying a couple of ribbons. She hands them to Mrs. Lansbury then plops down on a chair across from where Zander is standing. "Can I go for a ride on your boat? I like boats; they're fun!"

"No, you may not go out on the boat." Mrs. Lansbury inserts as she picks up a comb and starts sectioning Tasha's hair for french braiding. "You know you are supposed to stay on the island. Your brother would be very unhappy if you disobeyed him."

Tasha's lower lip start working. Zander can't stand it and kneels in front of Natasha so that he is at eye level with her. "It's not much of a boat anyway just a leaky old outboard. Not fun at all. And Mrs. Lansbury is right. You need to stay on the island remember?"

"When are you going to make the bad lady go away?! I want to see my Mama and Kristina. I want to talk to Papa! Papa will make her go away. Papa will tell Stefan to make her go away!"

"I'm working on it." Zander says earnestly. "You know I'm keeping an eye on her."

"But I want you to make her go away now before she hurts Mama and Kristina."

"I'll see what I can do." Zander sighs.

"That means no. That means you aren't going to do it." Tasha gets up from the chair and pushes Zander over. "I don't like you anymore! Go away and don't come back!"

"Miss Natasha! You apologize this instant." Mrs. Lansbury demands. "And keep your voice down. A lady doesn't yell." Grabbing Tasha by the loose french braid running down the middle of her back she pulls the grown woman back to the chair and then rests both of her hands on Tasha's shoulders to keep her in the chair. "I'm not hearing it, Missy."

"I'm sorry." Natasha bursts into tears and then shrugging away from Mrs. Lansbury runs into the bathroom and slams the door.

"That went well." Mrs. Lansbury winces when she hears the sound of the bathroom door being locked.

"Let me try to talk to her. I'm the one that upset her." Zander goes over to the bathroom door and sits down on the floor right at the door's threshold. "Tasha... Tasha, come on. Open the door and come out. Look. I'm sorry too. I know I didn't tell you what you wanted to hear. And I'm sorry it's taking so long. I just want to make sure that's it's a surprise for the bad lady... that she doesn't have time to hurt anybody before I can stop her-- you, Kristina... Me. Tasha, don't be mad oka?. Come on out." Zander hears the knob twisting but the door doesn't open.

"Zander, I can't get the door open." Tasha's voice is panicked. "It's stuck. I'm going to die. I'm going to die! I can't breathe."

"No, no hush." Zander insists. You just locked it remember."

"It won't unlock!" The door starts rattling against it's hardware.

"Okay that's nothing to worry about. I'll just open it from out here. Just relax, I'll get you out in a jiffy."





"Why are you dodging?" Scot snaps back after twenty minutes of delay tactics. "I want to see Alexis and I want to see her now."

"I'm afraid that wouldn't be possible." Dr. Cameron Lewis says breathlessly from the door. "You don't appear to be getting it, Mr. Baldwin. In words of how many syllables do you want this? Alexis. Is. Sick. Alexis. is. not. aware. Alexis. is. not. here. You. will. not. see. my. patient. unless. I. ok. it."

"You're covering for her!" Scot snarls his face flushed.

"No, you are acting outside the rules, Scott." Dara steps up. "I am Alexis Davis' counsel and you don't speak to my client or any of her altars without me there. I'm ready to go back to the judge right freaking now, Scott. The Cassadines have been cooperating with the judge's orders. You are the one who is messing it up here!"

"I have the right..."

"Oh bullshit." Taggart interrupts. "She's on electronic monitoring. That is supervised by the PCPD not the DA's office. You dumped it in the last budget go around. If you want to start supervising the EM again take it up with Mac. We've got 250 DUII's, 75 presentence, 87 jail paroles, 3 compassionate leaves. Twelve other diversions like Alexis. You take them all or you take none of them otherwise it's...

"Malicious persecution." Dara finishes it up for Marcus. "And I can work it a couple of different ways. I can sue on behalf of my client for relief... or I can go around to the victims of all the other crimes you aren't doing home visits on and have them put a class action suit. Why aren't you hounding those perps the way you are hounding the person who allegedly killed Alcazar? Why is the person who did that being treated more harshly than the criminals who injured them? Isn't their pain and suffering realized by the DA's office?"

"Or you could do both?" Dr. Lewis suggests helpfully.

"You haven't heard the last of this!" Scott protests.

"No, Scott, you have that backward. You haven't heard the last of this. Because I am taking this back to court. You can just explain this to the judge and the state bar as far as I'm concerned." Dara states flatly. "I don't know what agenda you are pushing by trying to sabotage Alexis' recovery but it's not going to happen. And you are going to play by the rules or I am going to destroy you."

"Who the hell do you think you are?"

"The one that knows where your bodies are buried. Don't push it, Scott." Dara threatens.

"I'm not going to forget this." Scott threatens.

"I sincerely hope not. Scenes such as this are already tiresome." Stefan says flatly. "Dr. Lewis, do you believe it is a good idea for Alexis to see Mr. Baldwin?"


"Miss Jensen?"

"No. And I'll be informing the judge so."

"Lt. Taggart?"

"I don't care one way or another." Marcus shrugs. "I say go for it, Scottie. I'll have all 427 files including Alexis' loaded up and sent to your office as soon as I get back to the PCPD. Save me and the department a lot of time." Marcus' eyes narrow as he sees Mrs. Lansbury come down the stairs in what appears to be a rush. But the woman doesn't slow down but instead goes into the kitchen. "So what's it going to be, Baldwin? Stay or can I walk you out?" Marcus comes over to the DA and clapping a hand on his back starts steering the guy toward the front door.

As soon as Marcus has cleared the front door with the DA, Stefan demands. "Mrs. Lansbury! What on earth? I told you to stay with Natasha!"

"She locked herself in the bathroom, sir. I'm just getting the key."

"Then why didn't you just stay with her until Baldwin had left?"

"Mr. Smith is with her, sir."

"Alexander?" Cameron starts up the stairs at a run.

Dara sighs which gets Stefan's attention before he can also go upstairs. "You aren't surprised."

"Zander was in my office when your call came in."





As Nikolas lets himself into the summer house he is drawn by the sound of soft music playing toward the back. He sets the duffle of items next to the door and wanders toward the back of the house and the french doors that are off the room that adjoins the kitchen. Speakers had been hauled by the doors and the doors left open so that the music could be heard out by the pool. Nikolas grins. Well that was one way. The other would have been to turn on the stereo out by the pool. Guess Penny hadn't found that control panel. He steps out onto the back patio and immediately spies his houseguest. She is ensconced in a white terry robe on one of the chaises and appears to be engrossed in a book.

"You found the suits but not the control panel for the stereo?" Nik asks startling her. "Sorry."

"There are suits?" Penny asks blankly. "You actually stock suits for people?"

"In the cabana." Nik nods toward the small building on the far side of the pool. "There are suits, pool equipment, controls for the outdoor lights and stereo." He extends a hand to Penny. She looks around for a place to set her book and then takes his hand letting him assist her up. Penny immediately lets loose of the hand and makes sure that the robe is covering all her assets. "Let me show you." Nik says wryly. Maybe he shouldn't show her where the suits are. He had a feeling that the robe was Penny's only garment and that is just fine with him. He contemplates the feeling in that moment. Emily would probably tell him he was acting like a dog. But this is really the first inkling of interest for someone not Gia in months.

"Holy cow." Penny interrupts his thoughts as she looks around the cabana. "It's bigger than my apartment."

Nikolas looks around. "Bout the same size actually. I stopped by your apartment on my way out here to pick you up some clothes."

"I could have done that." Penny protests.

"The news crew was arriving as I left. They are already staking out Kelly's." Nik nips Penny's idea of leaving in the bud. "I left a message for Dara Jensen early this morning on her machine but she has yet to return my call."

"She's probably in court or something." Penny suggests.

"Yes, I'm sure she'll call." Nikolas agrees. "As a responsible host I should tell you that it is not wise to swim alone."

"I used to lifeguard." Penny shrugs. "I know the risks. I stay pretty close to the side when I'm swimming alone... just in case."


Penny nods. "Did the high school swim team thing, lifeguarding and lessons during the summers. The pay is definitely better at Kelly's not to mention it's a year round job."

"Not something you have to worry about for the foreseeable future." Nik reminds.

"Oh. Yeah. Right."

"Why don't you select a suit. I'll try to call Dara again." Nikolas steps back. He waits until Penny goes into the room where the women's suits are and goes into another room changing quickly into trunks and grabbing a towel. By the time that Penny has finished changing, Nikolas is already back by the pool with his cell phone to his ear.

"Any luck?"

"Voice mail again." Nik frowns but the frown falls away as he spies Penny in a bright red maillot. The suit is definitely designed for swimming and is form fitting cut high on the thigh.

"You know I was wondering... how did you get into my apartment?"





Cameron reaches Tasha's room on a run. His first glance is to the open bathroom door and then as he continues to scan the room he is brought up short. Alexander is sitting in the window seat. Alexis is sitting across his lap cuddled up next to him. Cameron steps back out of sight.

"See you're okay now. I've got you." Zander says softly.

"I'm sorry I was mean." Tasha hiccups. "I don't want you to go away. I want you to still be my friend."

"I know you didn't mean it. And I'll always be your friend. You know that."

"Maybe that is why I was so awful, cause I knew that you knew that I didn't really mean it."

Zander laughs at that. "Maybe. But no more locking doors okay?"

"Only if the bad lady comes." Tasha qualifies.

"She won't come to the island. You're safe here. If you weren't safe here then we'd leave." Zander says reassuringly. He uses the flannel of the sleeve of his shirt to wipe the tear trails from Natasha's face and then brushes the hair that was loose of the braid back from her face.

"But you'll leave to go watch her." There is a pout in Tasha's tone, of jealousy.

"For you. I'm watching her for you. You know I'd do anything for you, Al.. Tasha." Zander hugs Alexis even closer to him and starts rocking her a little until she feels better. "You feel better now?"

"No. I want to stay here with you. If I say yes then you'll go away." Tasha insists.

"I can stay for a little while." Zander says reassuringly. "Besides you won't be by yourself, your brother is here and you said that Dr. Cam and Marcus were coming over."

"Why do you call him Dr. Cam and not papa?" Natasha asks curiously.

"Yes, Alexander. Why is that?" Cameron comes into the room.

Zander shifts Natasha to the window seat and stands up. His hands are clenched in fists at his side. Tasha reaches out and pushes her fingers into the fist nearest to her until Zander finally relaxes and holds her hand. "Because he's better at being Dr. Cam than he is at being a father."

Cameron nods. "Touché."

"I got to go, Tasha."

"But you said..."

"Dr. Cam is here now. I need to get that boat back before someone figures out it's missing. I'll see you later. Call me if you need me." Zander rubs his index finger over Alexis nose. "Be good. And no more locked doors. Promise?"

"Promise." Tasha sighs. She watches as Zander climbs out into the tree outside her window and watches until he is out of sight. Then she turns around to her doctor. "Zander doesn't like you."

"No. I'm afraid he doesn't."

"Zander will like you if I tell him to." Tasha offers. "He's my boyfriend. He likes it when I'm happy. I'll tell him I'll be happy when he likes you. And then he can have a papa again and he'll be happy too."

"It isn't that simple."

"Why not?"

"Because Zander wasn't happy when I was his papa." Cameron says sadly. Then he shakes it off. "Your brother Stefan's guest has left. Why don't you go tell Mrs. Lansbury that Alexander unlocked the door. Maybe she'll make us tea for while we talk?"

"And scones?"

"I do like Mrs. Lansbury's scones."

"I'll go see." Tasha races from the room. Cameron uses the time to grab the journal and quickly flips it over and starts reading. The block writing is tight, small and angled in a way like many lefties.

I feel like I'm in a cage and I can't get out. What is going on? What about Kristina? What about my baby? There are such blanks... every time I wake it's dark. I know I'm at Wyndemere. How did I get out of the hospital? I reach for the door and never get there. It's like something is holding me back. What is going on? Am I losing my mind?

Picking up a pen, Cameron writes quickly wanting to have the journal back in place before Tasha returns. Kristina is fine. She is with Ned. You have something called DID. Dissociative Identity Disorder. I know you think that you were faking it but-- surprise. You've done the legal research on the illness already. Stefan returned from Europe and brought you to Wyndemere so you can get better. Examine the journal, Alexis. The goal is to reintegrate you with your other personality(s). I'll try to contact you soon. Until that happens use the journal to communicate with me and the others. Cameron hears Tasha coming back so he swiftly writes his name and then puts the journal back where he found it.

"Mrs. Lansbury will be here soon with the tea. She is so mad at me. But she won't say anything around my brother." Tasha smiles at Cameron.

"Are you okay with Mrs. Lansbury being mad at you, Tasha?"

"I guess." Tasha sighs and shrugs her shoulders. "Mrs. Lansbury wants me to be a lady. And says things like a lady does this or a lady doesn't do that. Mostly Doesn't Do. Being a lady is boring. I'd rather be riding Petunia or maybe climb trees with Zander. That would be fun. And all Stefan wants to do is read books. Fat, heavy books. With no pictures." Tasha sighs again this time more heavily and more put upon. "I told him I wanted to do something fun and you know what he did?"


"Got out a chess set." Natasha just shakes her head slowly. "My brother doesn't know how to have fun. It's very sad."





With a powerful motion of his hands and arms that brings water up over the edge, Nikolas leverages himself out of the pool and races over to the chaise to pick up his ringing cell phone. "Nikolas Cassadine. Yes, Dara. Thank you for returning my call." Nik looks at his watch on the table. although it wasn't too promptly "I was hoping you could come out to the Cassadine summer house to discuss a new client." Nikolas waits on Dara's answer but then shakes his head. "Well you see the new client has a bit of a problem with showing her face in Port Charles. Too many people know she's won the lottery already." Nikolas laughs at Dara's comment on that one but then gives direction to the Summer House. "When can we expect you? Why were you at Wyndemere?" Nikolas frowns at Dara's non answer. "I will see you soon." Nikolas terminates the call and clicks the phone shut.

Penny comes up on the side of the pool dipping her head under the water and back to keep it from sticking to her face. She rests on her arms along the side of the pool. "So that was Dara Jensen?"

"Yes, she will be here in about an hour."

"And she's at your house now. Was there some kind of wire cross thing going on there?"

"Perhaps. We'll find out when she arrives." Nikolas goes over to the side of the pool and offers his hand to Penny to assist her out. Penny reaches up and instead of allowing him to pull her out tugs him toward her and then lets go letting him fall into the water behind her. As quick as an eel she ducks away from the edge and heads back into the deepest part of the pool. Nikolas comes up sputtering and wiping water from his eyes looking to where he'd seen her last and treading water. He reverses at the sound of a voice behind him.

"You said an hour. Only takes me about twenty minutes to get dressed. Tag. You're it." Penny takes a deep breath and then dives under the water again.

"Oh no. I don't think so." Nikolas takes a deep breath and dives too.


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