Life wasn't fair, Luke Spencer decided as he pushed his way through the curtain of lingerie that hung in his shower. The air in the bathroom was redolent with some rather exotic fragrances, tantalizing his mind with thoughts that were as steamy as the room, and as a black lace teddy dropped down on his head, he smiled, in spite of himself. But, he grinned broadly as Lucy, clad in a turquoise silk camisole with matching tap panties strolled into view. "Darlin', you do know how to get a man up in the morning." He leered at her, twirling an imaginary mustache.

"Luke, we've got to get a bigger place. There's no room in the closet for your things."

"Um, Luce, darlin'-that's my closet. I've already given up the bed, but a man's got to draw the line somewhere."

"I can't go back to the lighthouse, Luke. Besides, unless you join me in a room somewhere, our cover story won't fly." She fluffed her hair and added, "Besides, since Laura got released, Garcia and Taggert are hot on your tail. They need to hang this on somebody, and you were their first pick, after all."

"We're staying here," Luke told Lucy. "That is, I'm staying here. You can but I'm not going to force the issue. This is my home for the time being, until I can get all of this sorted out." He shook his head, the sensuality of the morning lost in the reality of his situation. "She wants me to come back to her, Lucy. She invited me to stay last night, and I might have, but Lucky came back at just the right, or wrong, depending on your point of view, time. I couldn't stay with her, Lucy. As much as I've missed her for the last several months, as much as I've loved her for these many years, as hot as I was to have her, I couldn't stay."

"Why not?" Lucy wanted to tell him of her suspicions, but it was too soon. Way too soon. She needed something other than gut instinct to guide her this time. Her psychic feelings were screaming that she was right, but Luke was going to require more.

"I don't know. I mean, I can't look at her, knowing that she was just with Stefan Cassadine, that she lied to me about that, about Lucky, that she couldn't tell me about Nikolas, that she essentially lied by omission about him, and frankly, Lucy, I haven't had the heart to push her about Lulu. Not for her sake, but for mine. Lulu's the one bright spot left, the one child that I don't know about, and I don't know if I want to. Hell, Lucy. I'd rather just believe that she's mine and let it go at that." He scowled. "But, I can't. I have to know."

"And if Lulu isn't yours?" There was no need to remind him that Lulu's bone marrow had matched Nikolas'. He'd been trying to forget that ever since Nikolas had arrived on the scene. In fact, his best guess was that she wasn't his.

"I don't know," Luke answered. "I just don't know. The thing is-it's not Lulu's fault who her father is-and God knows that I've always thought of her as mine. Same with Lucky, though Laura says he's not." He looked at Lucy, his anguish clearly revealed to her, and admitted, "I can't just shut it off. I mean, I'm trying, but fatherhood isn't just something that you can walk away from. Hell, Luce-we've talked about this before, but now, knowing more than I did, it's only worse."

"Okay, Luke," Lucy began, as the pair of them stood in the cramped bathroom and talked. "If it turned out that both of them were yours, would it make any difference in how you feel about Laura?"

Luke paused, and thought about that, while Lucy continued. "This is kind of how it is between me and Kevin-not that we've cheated on each other, or anything like that, but what I mean is that we're both focusing on one thing to keep from focusing on what's really bothering us. Everything else stems from what we're avoiding. For me, it's-well, it's a matter of trust-but not like him fooling around on me. It's like I'm always supposed to be the strong one, the one that comes through no matter what. Good old Lucy-solid, dependable Lucy. Come hell or high water, Lucy is there, no matter what. And you know what? I'm a little tired of it. No, not tired, but it's like I'm his mother confessor or something. Always there to rescue him, to pull his tail out of the fire-but who is going to rescue me? I mean, not that I've actually needed rescuing, well, a little bit, but who doesn't, now and then?

"Okay, okay, you guys saved me in Texas, but I mean stuff like feeling that I can depend on him to be completely sane and normal. Not that normal is that big a deal, but it seems that every time I get about ready to marry him, something in me freezes up-sort of like how you must have felt with Laura-only not quite the same-after all, you married her and lived with her for a long time. I mean, I love Kevin, and all, but I'm not ready to commit to him at this point.

"In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize that he may have done me a big favor in walking out on me. You know what I mean? And, you may be doing Laura a big favor if you let her find whatever it is that she really needs."

Lucy took another breath and plunged back into her monologue, as Luke listened in amazement, partly because her logic was making sense to him. "Assuming that you are in the mood to do her any favors. You know that Laura has lied to you, cheated on you, and, on more than one occasion, betrayed you with your worst enemy. Your kids aren't your kids, your house is no longer your home, and my guess is that you're thinking that everything that you shared was one grand illusion. I guess that's what it all comes down to, Luke... Is what you two had strong enough to get past all of that?"

"My, my, my," Scotty muttered as he read the reports from Laura's past. It was beginning to look as if Lucy was onto something. Odd, how he was beginning to see the same pattern that she was seeing. One last thing, he thought, as he checked the hospital records on blood types, and suddenly, it was all crystal clear. He grinned widely, realizing that he held the key to one man's future. Lucy was right about one thing. He owed Luke Spencer for saving him from Laura's clutches all those years ago, though he hadn't realized it then. It was time to return the favor. Scotty reached for the phone, but instead, stood up. This was one message that deserved a personal delivery.

Luke stood in front of the empty bar, wondering how he'd gotten to where he was, but answers seemed to evade him. His life seemed to have been on long disaster, when viewed dispassionately, and when it was all added up, he had precious little to show for it.

"So you've found out the truth about your, that is, Laura's children," Helena observed as she entered the establishment. "You finally found out what I've known for years. That little tart isn't worth another minute of your time." Helena laughed. "Not that she ever was, but you and I know that she was only a diversion for you."

"And just when I thought the day couldn't get any worse," Luke muttered. He turned to the woman he'd known for years, known in ways that he hated to remember, ways he'd tried to forget.

"Oh, it can, Luke. Much worse. Did you know that Garcia has a warrant out for your arrest?"

"He's desperate. He knows that I didn't kill Kat. Besides, I've got an alibi."

Helena nodded, sagely. "Your other tart. Ms. Coe. Though, I must commend you on your improving taste. She's talented, lovely, and has the unerring ability to make money. She is, however, exceedingly common."

Suddenly, Helena found herself drenched by a pitcher of beer as Lucy made her presence known. "We common girls do things like that," she observed. "You know, Luke, she smells better now."

Helena calmly took a towel and dabbed at her soaked hair and face, an icy smile on her face. "So you're Lucy Coe."

"And you're Helena Cassadine." Lucy studied Helena, feeling a surge of pure animosity emanating from the beer soaked woman. "You know, you don't seem nearly as wicked as I'd heard. I fully expected to find that you owned a gingerbread house and routinely ate little children."

Helena simply smiled and countered, "My tastes don't run quite to little children, Lucy, though perhaps Luke could go into detail on just how young...." With that, she strolled from the bar as regally as a queen.

"You must enjoy living dangerously," Luke said to Lucy as he began to clean up the area. "She's had men killed for less than that."

"What did she mean by what she said?" Lucy asked, ignoring his comments about danger. "She said that you could go into detail..."

"Don't go there, Lucy," Luke warned, his expression closed and angry. He turned pain-filled eyes to Lucy and as hers met his, she felt the measure of his hurt. Finally, he whispered, "I was fifteen, Lucy. Just fifteen."

Without a word, she went to him and pulled him into her arms, feeling the tension in his body. There were no words to say, nothing that would ease the emotional turmoil that had seethed deep inside him for years, but Lucy held him tightly, understanding and accepting the hideous knowledge that he'd kept hidden inside his heart since his youth. Finally, Lucy whispered, "Let it go, Luke. Let it go. You were little more than a boy and she was as old as time. Let it go."

Luke pulled back from Lucy, fighting tears of shame that had threatened to break what was left of his heart after Laura had played her games, and looked down into the eyes of complete acceptance. Silently, Lucy brought her mouth to his, gently kissing him, bringing healing with her touch-healing and something much stronger. Reeling with the wonder of a new discovery, both continued kissing for a few minutes.


Pulling apart, Luke and Lucy looked up to see Scotty Baldwin standing at the door.

"I thought I'd find you here," Scotty began. "Lucy, about that matter...."


"Give the man his life back, Lucy. I've got proof that you're right."