Alexis hung up the phone, her face white from something other than pain. This couldn't be happening, she thought distractedly. She wasn't this gullible, was she? "Obviously, I was," she muttered, trying to make her way from the hospital bed to the closet where her clothes hung. Darkness threatened her consciousness, but her willpower overcame it. Thank heavens there was honor among thieves, or at least master forgers, she thought. Her friend might have sworn not to tell her, but he hadn't sworn not to tell someone he knew would relay the message. Reece wasn't Alexis' brother, and if he was Nikolas and Lulu's father, they weren't Cassidines, which meant that Laura was playing a dangerous game, one in which she'd enlisted Alexis' help as an unwitting accomplice. "What is it, Laura?" she muttered. "What the hell are you doing?"

"You didn't kill me last night, Helena," Laura smiled as she leveled the gun on the woman who had, for many long years, made Laura's life miserable. "You want to know why? For the same reason that your own crew has abandoned ship. Call out, if you want, but nobody will answer. Why? Because they know the truth, and the truth is that you are a penniless old woman with a penchant for evil, one who can no longer afford to hire thugs to do her bidding."

Helena turned to look at the younger woman. "You poor, misguided child. Do you really think that you can pull this off? That you can kill me without suffering any consequences? Oh, I know what it is that you're alleging, that you're the mother of the last of the true Cassidines, but do you really think anybody is going to believe you? I am well aware that Alexis is Mikkos' daughter, but now you're adding Reece as another child? Come now, you silly wench. Mikkos wasn't like Edward Quartermaine whose bastards haven't all yet made their appearances. No, my husband, for all his sins, sired only one son and one daughter. Stavros and Alexis alone are his." Helena chuckled with disdain. "You didn't know that when you slept with Stefan, did you? You learned too late that Stavros wasn't a man easily led, though he was unfortunately obsessed with your beauty. But, I tolerated his obsession because it brought someone into my circle. It brought Luke back to me."

At that, Laura looked puzzled, and Helena nodded with a smile. "Yes, Laura, back to me! Do you honestly believe that all this time you have been the object of all our concerns? Hardly. Yes, my sons found you attractive, and Stefan, gullible fool that he was, note the past tense, Laura, was completely enamored of you for the longest time. He sacrificed everything for you. His guilt over having seduced his brother's wife even led him to deny himself the love of his own son. Yes, Laura, his son! Did you think that you could tell lies about Nikolas' paternity and get away with it? I've had everything checked out since the day you shattered Stefan's world with your lies, and Nikolas is his, as is Lucky, and Lulu."

"No," Laura said, wavering slightly. "You're wrong about that."

"I'm not, and we both know it. You kept Stefan on the string for years, making furtive contact with him, even having another child by him. And, I allowed it, because I knew that the day would come when I could reveal the truth for what it was-no, what it is. You are a liar, Laura. You are a manipulative, scheming, bitch with no remorse for what you've done." She shrugged. "I could almost admire you for that, but not when I discovered the worst of your deeds." With regal disregard for her circumstances, Helena turned her back on Laura.

"That's enough, Helena," Laura snapped. "It's over. You're about to have a fatal accident, and leave me and my family in peace."

"In your dreams, peasant." Helena turned back, a gun in her hand this time. "This is it, Laura. One of us lives, and one of us dies."

"I hope we're in time," Lucy remarked to Felicia as they climbed aboard the yacht. "I wonder where everybody is. There's a boat tied up on the other side. I wonder whose it is?"

"Isn't that Luke following us?" Felicia asked. "In that small launch over there."

"Yeah, and that looks like Garcia and Taggert with him."


Suddenly, the air was filled with the sound of the boats arriving, and what appeared to be shots from somewhere on the boat. "Ohmigosh!" Lucy gasped.

Felicia reached into her bag, pulled out her gun, and headed towards the cabin from which the shots had come. Lucy followed hesitantly.

"My God," Felicia gasped, taking in the nightmarish sight. "We'll need medical help right away." She looked down at the bodies, and said, "Don't let Luke in."

"What??" Lucy demanded.

"Laura is dead, and....Helena is in bad condition."

At that moment, the launch with the police officers and Luke arrived. "Hold on, Luke," Garcia ordered.

Lucy looked at Luke, and wondered how much more he could take.

"Lucy?" He asked, noting the shock on her face. "What is it? What are you doing here?"

"Luke?" called Felicia from the cabin. She emerged, her face drawn and shocked. "Helena asked to talk with you. She said that it's urgent, that there are things that you need to know. She wants to talk with both of us." She paused, her voice breaking, "I don't know how to tell you this, Luke, but Laura is dead."

"Laura?" he asked, almost tonelessly. "Dead?"

"She and Helena apparently shot each other. We need to hurry, Luke. Helena's in bad shape."

"Wait," Garcia said. "We need to ask her a few questions."

"**** your questions," Luke said, succinctly. With that, he entered the cabin, oddly grateful that Felicia had covered Laura's body with a blanket. He stepped past the woman who had sworn to love him, and knelt beside the woman he'd once loved with all the ardor of a young man's heart.


Helena opened her eyes, and looked at the man she'd never forgotten. "Luke, my darling." She coughed, and smiled. "Don't stop me, Luke. I have to say this, to tell you why I did what I did. I hurt you, and I know it. I had to. Mikkos was going to kill you-the way he killed Kristin. Oh, I got the blame for that, but I didn't do it. She was unfaithful to him, so he took Natasha from her and had Kristin killed. He was going to kill you, but he didn't know who you were. I let him think that you were someone else and that poor man died in your place."

"Helena, don't."

"Don't stop me. I sent you away to save your life, but I had a wonderful secret. I was pregnant, Luke. Mikkos took our daughter from me, and told me that she was dead, but he lied. Mikkos loved children, and he gave her to someone far away." Helena's eyes went to Felicia, becoming uncharacteristically tender. "I always wanted to love you, to be what I should have been, but my life got twisted up years ago, and I became everything that you would detest."

Felicia looked at Helena, speechless. Her eyes went to Luke, who sat back, utterly stunned.

"Felicia is yours, Luke. She's beautiful, and a survivor." Helena coughed, gasped, and struggled to continue. "One more thing. Tell Stefan that he comes by his financial acumen honestly. His father is Edward Quartermaine. Tell Stefan that Nikolas, Lucky and Lulu are his. The truth, Luke," Helena finished, "is that I always loved you."

With that, her eyes closed, and it was over.

And what, you might ask became of the others? Luke and Lucy were left to sort out what became a passionate, loving, married life together, and when Lucy announced the impending birth of twins, Luke was delighted. Felicia and Luke explored the father/daughter thing. Finding himself a grandfather abruptly aged Luke a bit, but he recovered quickly.

Stefan's Cassidine name was never challenged, and Luke gave him the option of telling or not telling Edward the truth. Finding that he was a father of three when he'd never been able to call even Nikolas his before was an astonishing but exciting prospect for him, and he vowed never to shut Luke out of the lives of the children who meant so much to him. The children found their lives interesting and exciting.

Jax discovered to his dismay that Laura's lies included much of what Jerry had learned, and he lost millions on a variety of deals. Last time we looked in on them, Jerry was relieved to have been in the Caribbean when everything turned sour.

Alexis completely disregarded everything that Laura had told her, and promptly married Ned Ashton. Edward couldn't quite make up his mind whether or not to be happy, but the close proximity to money won out and he beamed proudly at this new addition to his family. Stefan looked oddly bemused at the wedding, leaving one and all wondering what secret he harbored.