Lucy entered Scott Baldwin's office without knocking, one of the privileges of a long-standing friendship. "Scott?"

"Lucy?" Scotty smiled at his old friend and former lover. "You're looking much better." He grinned wryly. "Does this have anything to do with Luke Spencer? You know, as much as I've hated him in the past, if he's responsible for the roses in your cheeks, I'll forgive him for some of it."

"You may have to thank him for some things," Lucy told him. "Scotty, I need your help in finding out a few things about the past."

"Such as?"

"Among other things, I need to see the hospital and police reports on Laura's rape."


"Because Lucky found out what happened. He was told that his father is responsible for what happened that night."

"So that's why Lucky bailed out on his dad. I heard that he was living on Spoon Island with the Cassadines. I knew that the past would catch up with them someday. Man, I could have predicted this. Who told? Bobbie? I know that Laura wouldn't have told him, and I know that I didn't. Luke wouldn't have slipped with that. So, who spilled the beans?"

"Indirectly, Laura did. Apparently she told Stefan and let's just say that they were overheard and things were learned that way. Kat found out and told Luke."

Scotty's eyes opened a bit wider at that. "Kat knew? Did Luke-don't tell me that Luke killed Kat? I heard that Laura got busted for that. What the hell is going on?"

"It's a long and somewhat twisted story."

"That figures. So, who killed Kathryn?"

"We don't know for certain yet, but Luke..."

"You know, I really don't give a rat's a$$ what happens to him."

"I think that you should. If not for him, you might still be married to Laura. You might never have met and married Dominique. Never had Serena."

"Good point. Okay, I can forgive him for a little bit. Just don't ask me to pretend that none of it ever happened."

At that, Lucy smiled. "Odd that you should put it that way."

Jerry Jacks swaggered into the Outback, determined to see for himself the young woman whose name he'd weaseled out of one of Helena's men. It had taken a good bit of the finest scotch, and an evening of poker, but the other man had walked away a few dollars richer, and Jerry had gained some information. He wondered what it was that Helena wanted with the young woman, but as soon as he'd seen her, he knew. He also knew that he wanted her himself.

"What can I get for you?" Felicia asked, flashing her brilliant smile at him.

"Be still my beating heart," Jerry grinned, quickly covering his surprise with some standard flirtation lines. It was good to know that some things still ran on automatic. "Scotch. Neat."

Complying with the order, Felicia poured a measure of the liquor into the glass and asked, "Are you new in town?"

"That I am," he answered. "Name's Jerry."

"Jacks," Mac supplied frostily from behind him. "Felicia, we don't serve trash here. We take it out and dump it in the can in the alley."

"Mac Scorpio," Jerry grinned. "I'd heard that you'd settled down to the life of a tame lapdog." He looked back at Felicia and added in what could only be described as a suggestive leer, "Though I can understand why. If this little sheila was willing to stroke my fur, I'd probably stick around, too."

"Oops," Felicia smiled as she knocked his drink into his lap, soaking the front of his pants.

"I think that the lady's trying to tell you something," Mac grinned as he noted Jerry's rueful look.

"Alcohol burns," Felicia pointed out, as she clicked a lighter that was sitting on the bar. "Maybe you should go back to whatever rock you crawled out from under and change."

"An excellent idea, luv," Jerry laughed. "But I'll be back."

"Don't hurry."

Jerry left the bar without paying for the drink, while Felicia turned to Mac. "That's Jerry Jacks?"

"In the flesh. Nice move with the drink. You don't want to play games with that guy, Felicia."

"No? That's what I heard about you when you came to town."

"But I'm reformed. You know that you can trust me-but that guy is definitely bad news." He looked at the door from which Jerry had exited. "I wonder what he's doing in town."

"He has family here. Maybe he's visiting his brother?"

"Probably, but where Jerry goes, trouble rises. It doesn't follow-he brings it with him." Mac shook his head in disgust. "It's his trademark. He sees trouble as the ultimate creative force, and himself, thereby, as a creator."

Mac turned away with a scowl. He'd seen the look in Jerry's eyes when he'd noticed Felicia, read the blatant male interest, and knew that he wasn't about to let Jerry Jacks get his philandering hands anywhere near Felicia. Things were about to get messy.

Outside, Jerry mused as he strolled away. "So the old broad's got a daughter. Damned fine piece of work, too. Wonder who all I have to kill to have her for myself?"

It was much later that evening when Laura was alone with Lulu who had been dropped off by Luke. He'd left rather quickly rather than argue with Laura in front of the child. Laura bathed the little girl, then held her for a while, rocking her as the child fell asleep in her mother's arms. Looking down at the innocent child, Laura's eyes grew misty with tears, with thoughts of what could have and should have been.

"It won't be the same for you, Lesley Lu. Not the same as it was for me. Do you know the first memory of my mother that I had? She was rich, Lulu. Rich and beautiful and she bought me presents. Oh, I didn't know who she was, but when I found out, it was hard for me. She wanted me to choose her, to chose to leave my family-that is the family that thought I was theirs. I couldn't choose, Lulu. I loved my family, but I wanted to know my real mother, and I wanted her lifestyle. Having to chose made me very sick. Very. I was too young to have to make a choice like that, too inexperienced. They called it 'psychosomatic'-which means that my mind made my body sick."

Laura smiled at the little girl, hugging her and continued talking as if the child could truly understand. "Lulu, I won't let them do to you what they did to me. My whole life has been a tug of war. My grandfather paid somebody to swap me with a dead baby and to tell my mother that I was dead. That man wanted me gone so that my mother could get on with her life, and then when she found that I was alive, she wanted me back. But, I was twelve by then, and it was all very confusing. At first, it was like she could buy me, just come to me and expect me to choose her because she had more money. She found out that it doesn't work that way, but not until I'd been sick about it. Then, later on, she and her husband-not my father-got me out of a commune. I'd been happy there, but they didn't see it that way. Anyway, it took a while before I believed that they loved me. Even now, I sometimes have my doubts, but you, my sweet little daughter, you'll never have to doubt your mother's love.

"I'll never play with your emotions, your love like they did with mine. Never. Do you know that a man once tried to use me to get even with my mother? His name was David Hamilton, and I thought that he loved me. He was handsome, charming, and about as trustworthy as a snake. He used me, Lulu. Used me, and when I found out, I was so angry! He was mean to me, Lulu. So mean. I pushed him and he fell and hit his head. He died, and my mother took the blame because for a while, I didn't remember what had happened." She smiled. "At least, that's what everybody thought. Anyway, eventually, I 'remembered' and my mother got out of jail. I married a very sweet young man who had helped me-Scotty Baldwin, and life was very nice for a while, in spite of the problems that we'd had with that nasty Bobbie Spencer. She'd tried to break us up, but things were good for a while. Then, money problems and, well, it just didn't work out. So I decided that Luke was the man for me and..." she chuckled.. "I left Scotty. Luke was going places, and I wanted to go, too. So, I went, and it was exciting for a while. And then, I met the Cassadines.

"Someday, Lulu, I might just tell you how it all came about, how I almost got what I wanted, and little girl, I wanted it all. I'd have had it, too, but I learned a little too late that you can't depend on anybody but yourself when it comes to getting what you want. I thought that your father could give me what I wanted, what I needed-he couldn't-he wasn't strong enough. But, little angel, things will be different for you. Very different. Momma has made certain of that. Just a little longer and everything will work out. We'll have it all. I promise."

Leaning back in her chair, Laura hugged the little girl again and began to rock. Then, softly, she began to sing.

"Hush little baby don't you whine,
Momma's got the proof you're a Cassadine
With wealth and power your life will be
Everything life never was for me....."