Stefan strode up the stairs to the brownstone, finding his position of supplicant vaguely unsettling; still, this was his best option. Until their breakup, Bobbie had been a most reasonable woman-something distinctly un-Spencerian. He knocked, waiting impatiently for the door to be answered.

Bobbie opened the door. "Stefan? What a surprise."

Ever formal, Stefan asked, "May I come in?"

"If you're looking for Nikolas, he's here. I will not, however, insist that his staying with me is contingent upon seeing you."

"It's okay, Bobbie," Nikolas told her. "I'll speak with him."

"Fine. Would you like privacy?"

"It's unnecessary," Nikolas answered. "You and Lucky can stay if you wish. As a matter of fact, I'd prefer it."

"Very well. Come in, Stefan." Bobbie stepped out of the way as Stefan entered.

As they took their places in the living room, Stefan looked at the boy who had been his ward, whom he still regarded as a son, and at the boy labeled by Laura as his son. "The last few days have been, shall we say, both tragic and enlightening. Kathryn was murdered by someone as yet unidentified, and I assure you that I will get to the bottom of this. The perpetrator will be found and punished."

"Thank you, un...Stefan."

"You may still address me as Uncle. I would like that. I would also like for you to return to Spoon Island."

"No to both," Nikolas told him. "As of now, I am simply Nikolas, and Bobbie has been gracious enough to allow me and my half-brother to live in the attic apartment."

"I must insist that you return. As we do not know who killed Kathryn, and as it was known by many that she and I were..."

"Shacking up?" Lucky offered with a sneer.

"Involved," Stefan said, wondering how he could want to kill his own son. "It's possible that she was targeted because of her relationship with me. Therefore, it is safer for you and Lucky to stay with me. The island is well-protected."

Bobbie looked at the boys, and realized the truth of what Stefan was suggesting. "As much as I hate to do it, I must agree with Stefan on this. If this was an enemy of his, you two may well be targeted to use against him. Nikolas, especially, since it's not widely known that Lucky may be his son."

"I am not his son," Lucky told them. "I refuse to accept that."

"What we think is irrelevant in this instant," Nikolas nodded. "It is whatever is believed by the criminal. If that person believes that you are important to Stefan, then you are important to the criminal." He turned to Stefan and said, "Very well. We will return to the island for the time being, but only at night, and only if Bobbie and Lucas stay with us."

Stefan looked at Bobbie who was aghast at the thought. "No," she argued. "That is out of the question."

"Very well. Bobbie and Lucas can come live with us." Stefan was agreeable to the idea.

"Yippee!!" shouted Lucas as he entered the room. The smaller boy had only heard the last statement. "We're going back!"

Stefan turned to see the boy racing towards him, and, without any hesitation, opened his arms to him. "Yes, Lucas, you're coming back. Your pony has missed you."

"Can I have a kitten this time?"

"The barn cat has just had a litter. You can choose one."

Bobbie looked at Stefan, glaring, while Nikolas and Lucky watched with growing interest. "Stefan, we need to make certain that Lucas realizes that we won't be staying long-that this is just a visit."

"Aww, Mom," Lucas grumbled. "I thought that you guys made up."

"It doesn't work like that," Bobbie told him. "Stefan and I are divorced. If we go to the island, it will only be until they catch whoever killed Kathryn Bell."

"Oh." Lucas thought about it, then brightened. "Okay. At least I get to be with my used-to-be big brother and cousin for a while. Nikolas has the best games!!"

Bobbie turned back to Stefan who was wondering why he found this entire scene somehow enchanting. "Okay, Stefan. We'll stay with you for a short time. When is Kathryn's memorial service?"

Suddenly returned to unpleasant reality, Stefan answered, "Tomorrow afternoon." Turning to Nikolas, he added, "I have received notice from her attorney that your presence is requested at the reading of her will."

The nerve of that man," Laura snarled, tossing her pillow at the handsome man in her bed. "Imagine-he's been having an affair with Lucy Coe!"

"I'm shocked," her male companion laughed. "Would you like for me to break his neck?"

Laura continued her tirade. "This is outrageous! He never once hinted that there was anything going on. He was taking care of everything on the home front while I took care of my mother."

"And speaking of that fair lady. When is she coming back to Port Charles?"

"Probably not for a long time. Whatever Stefan did to her has left lasting scars on her psyche. She's still in and out a lot." Laura sat down on the bed. "And I intend to deal with him. All that business about trying to save her life-my mother's memory is like Swiss cheese!"

"Which has some advantages, I'd think." He smiled. "She might not recall finding us together. Or, is her memory of that rather stellar occasion the real reason that you left her behind?"

Laura smiled ruefully. "You're entirely too perceptive, Jerry."

"So, tell me about the seductive Ms. Coe."

"She saved Luke's life once upon a time, and they are friends. Very good friends now, and this complicates my plan."

"Why is that?"

Laura was plainly annoyed. "None of this was supposed to have happened. I had everything worked out. I was going to appeal to Stefan's good nature-what there is of it, and return home. I was going to let him tell Luke whatever he wanted to about us. Hell-Luke already knew that I'd slept with Stavros. I could have made him see why I had to sleep with Stefan. He'd have understood, sooner or later. He might have even been glad that I did because it was Stefan falling in love with me that gave me the freedom to escape the island. Besides, Luke has been very easy to control for years. Oh, he'd go off on some tangent, but ultimately, I could get him to do whatever I wanted. We've settled here in Port Charles. I have friends. I enjoy a fairly good reputation in the community."

"You mean that you finally lived down your past in the eyes of Port Charles, and that up until now, Luke has always seen you as the angel he tarnished, the untouchable woman that allowed him to touch."

"Why must you do that?"

"Do what?"

"See through me so easily."

"It's part of my charm." He lay back on the pillows, and smiled invitingly. "Though I do have others....."

Laura smiled the secret smile that he so enjoyed. "That's not the only reason I find you attractive, Jerry Jacks." She leaned over and kissed him on the mouth. "Let me show you a few others."

Helena studied the pictures that lay before her. "Jerry Jacks? Interesting. Very interesting. I wonder if my old friend knows about this?"

"I'm not certain that he'd care, Madam," Jean-Pierre answered. "Apparently the so-lovely Ms. Lucy Coe has captured his interest."

"That has its advantages," Helena answered. "It shows that he can be distracted from that sniveling Laura. Now, you said that the funeral was tomorrow?"

"Yes, Madam. Do you wish to attend?"

"No, I think I'll just send flowers. Nikolas would appreciate that gesture. He was fond of the creature, as inelegant as she was, and it appears that he and Lucky have begun a friendship. Perhaps I'll have both boys for grandsons."

"But Madam, I thought you said that Nikolas wasn't a Cassadine."

"So Laura said, but she does tend to prevaricate. Until we are able to conduct DNA testing, I won't be satisfied either way. Meanwhile, I must cultivate both relationships."

"And Luke Spencer?"

Helena smiled again. "I have much to share with him. There are things he doesn't know, things that will strike very close to his heart. He showed much promise years ago, back before Laura corrupted him with her feigned sweetness. Oh, yes. When he learns the truth, he'll understand why I did what I did. And, he'll be mine once more."