The Path to Power

Chapter Twenty Three





"What took you so fucking long?!" Bruno mutters under his breath to Dillon. But he also breathes a sigh of relief. Faith is here now and she could make the call on that Stefan Cassadine dude.

"Sorry, it was either Wyndams or the Florist. We were already out the door at Wyndams when Faith checked her messages." Dillon mutters back. "Who is that and why are you freaking?"

"That's Baby K's uncle. He's allowed to visit, but I can tell Faith doesn't trust him. His name is Stefan Cassadine."

"What's Faith going to do?"

"Watch and learn, Kid. Watch and Learn."

The guys fall silent. Stefan rises to his feet as Faith approaches. "I hope everything is... alright." Stefan asks Faith.

"Of course. Why wouldn't it be?" Faith shrugs with a put upon smile. "Ned's brother has come to visit. Dillon?" Faith calls out in a louder voice and indicates that he should come over. "Dillon, this is Mr. Cassadine, Kristina's uncle. Stefan, this is Dillon. He just arrived yesterday."

"Mr. Cassadine." Dillon answers politely.

"Dillon." Stefan nods. He watches as Faith runs a hand over Dillon's arm. There was no sign of any kind of flinch at what might be perceived as a familiarity. Too familiar for such a short acquaintance. He'd seen the like before-- lived it. It was the way Helena used to treat Stavros. When he'd been able to pull away from the island and go to university, the psychology department had put names to many of the things he'd observed all of his life. A cold comfort. "Send the boy away so we may talk." Stefan demands.

Dillon stiffens at that. "Excuse me?"

Faith doesn't break eye contact with Stefan. "Dillon, we didn't have time to get anything to feed the ducks. Could you go over to Kelly's and see if they have any day old bread... Kristina will kick up a fuss if she doesn't get her duck time." Faith reminds Dillon absently putting the most face saving spin on Stefan's order. "It's a public place. Bruno will keep me safe until you get back."

Dillon steps away and pauses by Bruno who mutters loud enough for Dillon to hear. "Remember rule numero uno." He warns. Dillon's eyes narrow as he looks over to the baby and wonders how far Faith will go to protect Kristina. Bruno continues. "You'd better get going. Don't worry; you won't miss anything. The party is just starting." Dillon starts back to the car not running but stretching out his stride to cover a lot of ground.

Stefan waits until he's leaving. "Isn't he a little... young for you?"

Faith laughs. "That's a question that's trouble any way I answer. Dillon's sweet and he won't always be too young."

"And easier to manipulate than your husband I am sure. But to what end? Or have you even decided yet?"

Faith tsks and changes the subject. "Nikolas gave me a picture of your mother when he was over at the cottage."

"He told me." Stefan decides Nikolas' perceptions of Faith are now suspect and it would be better in the future if Nikolas' contact with Faith is limited. While Nikolas' exposure to manipulative blondes is greater than anyone not a Cassadine, he'd never actually been the undivided attention of one. Laura had always pushed Nikolas away and Helena too caught up in the loss of Stavros to be as effective as she could have been. "He also shared your idea about tracking my mother thru her jewelry." Stefan makes a brief bow. "It is an avenue to be explored."

"Glad I could be of... service." Faith leans up against a nearby tree. From her angle she could see Bruno and Alice with the stroller while the tree covered her back. Stefan does what Faith expects and maintains eye contact with her. But to do so he has to put his back toward the others including the baby. "I do think it would be better if we all... cooperated. Don't you?"

"Yes, it seems to be working. And I will of course notify you if I have any warning of my mother returning to Port Charles."

"How is your sister?" Faith asks flatly.

"Do you really care?"

"No... and yes. If you think she is going to see the baby." Faith's tone conveys the cold day in hell when that will be happening even if she doesn't say it.

"I'm not concerned about how Alexis would react to seeing Kristina. I am sure that no harm will come to the child. But it would be confusing for both of them. And your presence..."

"Well see that would be a problem. Since I plan to be around. And if your sister can't tell the difference between me and your mommy dearest then she ain't getting close to the kid."

Stefan's jaw stiffens at that proclamation. Not that he intended to try to reunite Tasha with the baby any time soon. There were a number of points that needed to converge first but ultimatums unless he's the one issuing them are... annoying. "Understood."





Not too much later, not too far away, Dillon walks up to the counter at Kelly's and requests some day old bread from the waitress behind the counter.

"Going to the park?" Liz asks politely.

"Yes. Thanks." Dillon spots a phone and points to it. "I'm just going to make a quick call."

"Take your time." Liz shrugs and heads back into the kitchen to put the squeeze on some bread and rolls. Might as well keep busy until Ric came to pick her up. Bobbie really needed to get more help in here.

Dillon goes over to the phone and squinting at the keypad dials his brother's number by little used memory and connects with voice mail. "Ned, it's Dillon. We're all at the park. Some guy named Stefan Cassadine showed up. Bruno was acting funny so I figured you ought to know..."

"You've got to help me." A young blonde appears at his elbow pleading.

Dillon looks at her and figures from the flush of her cheeks that she is upset or angry. "I'm sure everything is fine. I just wanted you to know." Dillon hangs up the phone. "Help you with what?" He asks giving her his full attention.

"Just play along okay?" With that the little blonde throws herself in his arms and plants a liplock on him hot enough to peel paint off a Chevy.





"When are you going to see Zander next?" Dara demands of Gia without so much as clearing of throat or howdy do as she comes out of her office to the lobby area of Dara's law office.

Gia looks up from her reading and recoils in her chair. "We don't exactly have plans. Why?"

"Nevermind." Dara goes back in her office.

Gia gets up and follows her, standing in the doorway. "Is this about the kidnapping thing?"

"He shouldn't have told you about that." Dara's tone conveys her disapproval.

"Oh believe me I know." Gia shakes her head. "How did Em put up with it? Oh yeah, she was in love with the guy. So what do you figure was Alexis' excuse?"

"I'd love to say the triple billing I'm sure Alexis gave to Sonny, but it was probably the challenge. You know you're damn good when you can keep Alexander Lewis aka Zander Smith out of jail."

"Really he hasn't been to jail lately." Gia defends halfheartedly. "A couple of bar fights when he found out his father was in town. A little drug overdose... but ever since Alexis had her meltdown he's been good as gold."

"Shouldn't you really be knocking on wood on that one?" Dara asks dryly. Cause the stuff Zander is into now could get him killed on about three different fronts. Damn it, Alexis. How could such a great lawyer so royally screw-up her life even before going crazy?

"You represented Sonny..."

Dara interrupts quickly. "No, I represented Jason and Brenda. Big difference. And Jason's name was at the bottom of the check. And I took over the case for Alexis. If she had it I knew it was already winnable. I didn't know it was winnable because she was the one that gave Alky a push over the railing."

"So there is no conflict right?"

"It actually might save me some conflict." Dara sighs. "With this affidavit of Zander's that takes me out of Sonny's circle." That and representing Alexis' interests if Zander is right about Sonny being the father of Alexis' baby.

"I can tell you're all broken up about it."

"Lets do the math... Valentine. Dead in a suspicious car accident. Alexis. Nuttier than a fruit cake. And that is just the last two attorneys. Unless I'm ordered by a judge and can't get out of it... I'll leave Sonny Corinthos to Ric Lansing."





Coleman puts a ritual polish on a highball glass as he puts it within easy reach of the bar well. It's still early in a bartender's day. The thin crowd is all regulars. These guys would would open the bar with a shot and a cup of coffee before heading off to work. Working day shift is all about inventory, stocking and getting ready for the rowdies who would start trickling in at about three when the first shift let out and not end until closing time.

He hears the sound of a stool scraping back and not looking up or over asks. "What can I get for you?"

"The question should be what I can do for you."

Coleman slowly looks up at that and down the bar. "I was wondering when you would show up."

"You took a quarter of a million dollars to stalk Courtney Matthews for AJ Quartermaine."

Coleman shrugs and puts away the glass. "And your point?"

"How much would it cost for you to stay away from Skye?" Jax pulls his check book out of the inside pocket of his suit jacket and lays it on the bar opening it.

"See that's the nice thing about taking a quarter mil and a bullet for doing that little job for Junior. I don't need your money."

"Your sort always needs money."

"I'm the sort of man with simple tastes: a cold drink, a hot meal, a hard mattress and a soft woman to bounce on it." Cole grins at Jax. "And Skye is so soft. She's got skin like a baby. And hair like silk that just spins around your fist. But I don't have to tell you all that do I?"

"You're a disgusting pig."

Coleman laughs. He'd been called worse. "It's your loss. She was all yours and you blew her off. Don't think I'll be making the same mistake. So hey. The drink's on me. What can I get for you?"

Jax gets up and walks out of the bar. There would be another way around this one.

Cole reaches under the counter for the phone that he keeps right next to the Louisville Slugger. "Hey Babe, you got a future on the psychic hotline."

"Don't call me, Babe." Skye demands. And that's it. I'm getting a restraining order. This is ridiculous.

"What is ridiculous is you saying that I couldn't take the dude's money. We could have had a hell of vacation on his tab: Tahiti, pineapple on the rocks, cocoa butter suntan oil." Coleman practically croons that one. The mental image makes him glad he's got the bar in front of him.

"Sand in your shorts." Skye offers to dampen his enthusiasm.

"I'm not wearing any."

Skye laughs at that. "Oh there is so much I could say to that but I think I'll bite my tongue."

"Ah if you were only here so I could do that for ya." Coleman says with a sigh. "Well I better let you go. Get this place set up for the evening crew."

"You going to come out to the lake house after work?" Skye asks absently her mind already on something else.

Coleman straightens. It's the first invitation she's extended. "Sure, you want me to pick anything up?"

"You took care of last night. I got tonight. Talk to you later." Skye hangs up the phone.

"Yes!" Coleman grins. Turning around he sees the blackboard for specials and decides that the perfect Happy Hour Drink for today is a little Sex on the Beach in honor of this very moment.





Lucas bristles beside Maxie. "What do you know about this guy?!" He demands of Dillon. Georgie shifts uneasily from one foot to the other. She really hopes that she hadn't picked wrong. Not that there had been a lot of choice. It had either been the stranger on the phone or the really gross guy sitting next to the jukebox.

Dillon tries to do the polite thing and extends a hand to the guy next to the petite blonde. "Dillon."

Lucas ignores the hand. "Come on, Georgie. Lets go."

"Dillon and I were just going to go to a movie." Georgie lies quickly. This is actually working out really well. Lucas had never seemed so jealous. Now if only this guy would go along with her. Georgie looks at him pleadingly.

"After I dropped some bread off to my sister-in-law and niece in the park." Dillon agrees with a nod then adds dryly. "Evidently my niece gets cranky if she doesn't get her duck time."

"How old is your niece?" Maxie asks.

Dillon looks at her blankly. "I don't know. She's about this big." He holds his hands apart about two feet like he's telling a fish story. "And I've seen her when she's cranky. It's not a pretty sight."

"What's her name?" Lucas demands trying to trip up Dillon.

"Kristina." Dillon looks over to the counter where Liz lifts a brown bag significantly. He walks over and pulls out his wallet. "How much do I owe?" Liz tells him and he peels off a couple of ones and hands them over. Dillon back to the trio. "So..."

"So... we better get that to your niece." Georgie says fast not wanting everything to fall apart. She takes the bag from Dillon and starts walking to the door. Dillon falls in after her reaching around her to open the front door of the diner for her.

Lucas looks after them with his eyes narrowed. "You ever seen that guy before?"

"Nope." Maxie watches her sister and the new guy until they can't be seen from the window.

"Me either. I don't like this."

Out of sight of the diner, Georgie hands Dillon back the bag of day old bread. "Thanks. I really appreciate your help back there. Georgie Jones." Georgie extends her hand to Dillon.

Dillon takes it. "Dillon Quartermaine."


Dillon smile sheepishly. "Yeah, is that a problem?"

"No, I just thought I knew who all the Quartermaines were. My mother wrote Lila Quartermaines biography." At least that is what she said she was doing while she was running around with Mr. Spencer.

"Really? Then maybe you can fill me in on everybody. Because mostly I've just been getting acquainted with my brother Ned and his new wife." Dillon looks back over his shoulder at Kelly's. "You know they are going to grill you the next time they see you."

Georgie grimaces. "I know."

"So lets go to a movie."





"Hi, Gia right?" Skye walks into Dara's office. "AJ says nice things about you."

Gia is startled because she and Skye have never really crossed paths before. But knowing each other's names is not that unusual. She's been the Face of a Deception and engaged to Nikolas Cassadine while Skye Quartermaine had had her own share of press coverage for a variety of reasons. "Thanks. I guess. It's been awhile."

Skye sighs. "Well I'm doing a little event planning for AJ. A benefit for Ward House. And it's going fine but of course the only examples he has of event planning is what you put on for the Stallions and what Carly did for him. So I've been hearing your name quite a bit."

Gia laughs. "I didn't do any event planning... not really. Some press releases and a couple of local sporting store openings."

"Is Dara in?" Skye asks.

"Let me check how buried she is." Gia says with a nod. "She's just been coming out randomly, saying sentences and then diving back into her office. It's my fault. I dumped Alexis Davis caseload on her when Alexis closed her offices." Gia holds up her index finger. "Dara? Skye Quartermaine is here. She was hoping you had some time today..." Gia hangs up the phone. "She'll be right out."

Abracadabra. The door behind the reception desk opens and Dara sticks her head out. "Let me guess Jax got the check?"

"How do I get a restraining order?"

"It's that bad?"

Skye starts holding up fingers. "He has been out to the house. He called my father to come out to the house. He called Ned to try and have him give me a job at ELQ after telling him I was drinking again. That was a peach of a conversation with Ned. Jax tried to buy off the man I'm seeing. And what he doesn't get about Cole is that Cole would take Jax's money and then use it to take me on a nice vacation."

"Should have let him." Gia suggests.

"Gia!" Dara protests then sighs. "Has he laid a hand on you?"

"No, but isn't there something about stalking or something in this State?" Skye runs a hand thru her hair. "I know this is partially my fault. I've played the damsel in distress before around Jax to have him come running to my rescue but this is over the top. He's out of control."

"Are you ready to talk to the police about this?" Dara finally asks.

"Is that what you are recommending?" Skye asks hesitantly.

"Either the guy is crazy and we need to start documenting or the guy needs a wake up call. Jax has never struck me as crazy."

"I'll call my brother." Gia suggests. "He specializes in wake up calls."

"Yeah, call Marcus. Marcus has a little chat with him and this will get nipped in the bud." Dara agrees. "Skye, I'm going to set you up in the library. I want you to write everything down. Marcus will still question you but I'll be there too."

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