"Lucy?" Kevin answered the telephone in their suite, his tone reflecting a sentiment somewhere between concern, indulgence and irritation.

"No, Luke Spencer. Is Lucy there? I really need to talk with her."

"Sorry, Luke," Kevin answered, now irritated. "This is a romantic getaway. That leaves you out of the equation."

"Sorry, Kevin, but this is important."

"Sorry, Luke, but she isn't here. She's out shopping."

"When do you expect her back?"

"I expected her for lunch, but she didn't show. The shopping must be great."

"Are you certain that she's shopping?"

"That was her expressed intent, this morning," Kevin answered. "Why do I have the feeling that I'm not going to like what you're going to say?"

"Probably because you're not. She called me this morning."

"Oh, god."

"No. In fact, I don't know why she called me-Kevin, I know that you're going to find this hard to believe, under the circumstances, but Laura, her mother, and Lulu are missing. I wanted Lucy to try to home in on them-psychic visions, and like that."

Kevin sighed deeply. At least Lucy hadn't blown the whole thing, but this was ridiculous. "Luke, you're right about my finding this hard to believe. On second thought, I'm finding it easy to believe. Hell, if I was Laura, I'd split, too, what with you acting like a paranoid wacko-that's layman's terms for a nutcase-faking their deaths and blaming Stefan for the deed. She's been rather traumatized-probably wanted to get away from you for a while." He paused and added. "That's a hint, by the way."

"Kevin, this is serious. You saw Lesley when we found her."

"I saw her after you'd had her with you for a few weeks."

Offended by the suggestion that he might have contributed to Lesley's condition, Luke retorted, "There's no way that I'd have done anything to harm Laura's mother."

"Then why didn't you get her to GH immediately when you found her?? She should have been hospitalized for evaluation as soon as possible, but you have to go and pull a Spencer complete with dead bodies and faked deaths. Damnit, Luke, I wouldn't blame Laura if she told you to shove the whole thing! You've treated her son, Nikolas, like he was evil incarnate, like he was responsible for the circumstances of his own birth. Now, you want my Lucy to use whatever psychic powers to home in on the woman who has probably dumped you with more than good reason. Get a clue, Luke. That old act is getting a tad stale. Try something else. You remember the old adage, 'Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

"I'm not fooling," Luke argued. "!@#$%^&* it!! Kevin. I'm begging! I don't have anywhere else to turn!"

"Then just turn it off." That said, Kevin hung up the telephone and then picked it up again, but before he could make his call, the door was flung open, and Lucy strode in, in regally high dudgeon.

"I'm telling you right now, Kevin Collins. If you think, for one minute that I'm going to put up with being kidnapped in broad daylight, dragged bodily down to heaven alone knows where, be locked up in some wretchedly furnished room with broken chairs and a one way mirror, then you've got another think coming." She flung her purse across the room, where it promptly disappeared under a chair. "There I was, minding my own business..."

"Talking with Luke Spencer..."

She began to quickly remove her clothes, and her jewelry, and toss them onto the bed while Kevin looked on, intrigued. Grabbing another stylish outfit from the closet, she pulled a sweater on over her head, but she never missed a beat. "Talking on the phone with'd you know? And, before you go accusing me of saying anything I wasn't supposed to have said, I didn't have the chance to say anything because before I had the chance to say anything, somebody slapped something nasty over my mouth and the next thing I knew I was somewhere else and being asked questions about whom I was calling." She dragged on a skirt and chose a pair of shoes to compliment the outfit.

"You were kidnapped?"

"You don't think I would lie about that do you? Kidnapped!"

"Lucy, this is serious. How did you escape?"

"I didn't exactly. They let me go." She shrugged expressively, and said, "All they wanted to know was who I was calling, and I finally told them Luke. That lowlife schmuck!" She held a finger over her mouth and started looking for her purse. "Swear, Kevin, if that sneaky jerk thinks he can stiff me for the bail money and skip the country, well, I'll tell you, I'll make him disappear myself!"

Finding the purse, she sat down on the bed while Kevin watched, mystified. Dumping the contents on the bed, she began pawing through it until she found a small button shaped item. With a smile, she set it aside, and returned to her search. "You know, I really hate this purse! I can never find anything in it! Can you imagine trying to find your lipstick when you're in a hurry and all you can find is the #$%^&* eyeliner? You know, Kevin, I'm going to design a line of purses for the woman on the go. Something small, yet large. Something that makes a fashion statement without being a fashion faux pas."

Lucy held up another little item, set it aside, and continued her search. Finally, taking her identification, money, and the few things she couldn't do without, she stuffed the remaining things back into the small bag and carried it out the door along with the oufit and jewelry she'd worn that day. Tossing it into the trash container that the maid was pushing down the hall, she turned to Kevin. Then, with a smile, she took the two button shaped items and carried them to the toilet where she consigned them to the depths of the hotel plumbing with a flush. "You see, Kevin," she said, "A woman's purse is an integral part of her wardrobe, and if it's not attractive, functional, and at the same time chic, then it's simply not doing the job."

She gestured around the room, and Kevin shrugged. "I'm still hungry, Lucy. You missed lunch."

"Another reason to hate whoever kidnapped me."

"You want to report this?"

"I'd rather have lunch. You know, stuff like this just hikes up my metabolism like you wouldn't believe."

"I'd believe," Kevin grinned as they left the room. Down the hallway, he asked, "Think we need to call Marty?"

"Damned straight we're calling her," Lucy announced. "And she's paying for lunch!"

"How soon can you come to work?" Elizabeth Gardner asked as she reviewed the resume on the desk before her. Jack Johnson had an impressive resume, and she thought carefully. "Before you answer, you have to understand that this position is only temporary, but it will give us a chance to evaluate your performance, and then perhaps we can make a more permanent offer."

"Temporary is fine," Jack answered, honestly. "I'm just happy to get the chance to work here. I left my other job a few days ago, and I've been pounding the old pavement trying to get something like this."

"I noticed that you left without notice." She frowned and said, "That is a mark against you."

"It was a personal thing," Jack answered. "Feel free to call my former employer. She'll be fair."

"She? You worked for a woman and quit over a personal issue? Mr. Johnson, are you suggesting that this was a sexual harassment situation? Because, if you are, we'd rather not hire someone who is involved in any sort of job related litigation."

"Nothing like that. I just learned a few things about her that made it impossible for me to continue working for her. Let's just say that I didn't see her in the same light after that."

Elizabeth nodded, and continued down the resume. "Excellent skills." She looked at the earnest young man sitting before her and said, "Mr. Johnson, I'm going to take a chance on you. Pending a call to your former employer this afternoon, I'll expect you to show up promptly at 8am tomorrow. I'll be here for a few days to show you the ropes, but you'll be on your own for close to a month after that."

"You're going away?"

Elizabeth beamed. "First time in my life I've ever won anything, but would you believe I won an all expenses paid trip to Tahiti, Fiji, Australia, Hong Kong and Hawaii! Plus, enough spending money to really make it interesting."

"Need a companion?"

"I need a replacement," she told him. "And, you're it."

"Damnit!" Luke cursed as he got hung up on yet again. Sonny regarded him with some dismay. "Man, you look beat."

"You don't know the half of it. That #$%^&* shrink Kevin Collins has the nerve to suggest that Laura left me because I'm a jerk and that she's tired of my schemes."

"She did it once before," Sonny was forced to agree. "She doesn't think much of your connection with me."

"And I don't think much of hers with Cassidine, either. Damn!!! Man, I don't know what to do." He scowled and tossed back a scotch, grimacing as it burned its way down.

"A little early in the day for that, isn't it?" Taggert grinned as he sauntered into Luke's Club. He smirked at Jason who was sitting idly by, nursing a drink. "Hey, brainless!" Taggert greeted Jason who rose, fists doubled up, and walked over to him.

"What do you want, A**hole?"

"Calm down, Jason," Sonny said, putting a hand on Jason's tense shoulders. "Take a walk. Call Robin. Just chill. Baldy's just here to ask for donations to the policeman's ball."

"Just here to check on Spencer's wife," Taggert grinned. "Mac told me that she wised up and left you. Or, was it that you just don't have a clue where she is? That's better than the last time when you told us she was dead. Man, now we're saving our tears."

Enraged, Luke was ready to punch Taggert who smiled and asked, "Mr. Corinthos, you and Mr. Spencer can commiserate for a while. Seems that Mrs. Spencer must have finally gotten smart and left a man who calls you his best friend." With a toothy grin, he turned and swaggered out of the bar.

"I'll kill that $%^&*" Luke swore, his nerves frazzled and his mind working overtime with the possibilities of what might have happened to Laura. Unfortunately, he was beginning to wonder if Kevin was right. Maybe the whole thing was getting to Laura, after all.

"It's about time you got here," Taggert remarked to Jason who hurried over to the abandoned train car.

"I said 'usual place, 1 hour.' It's been 55 minutes. What's up, Tag?"

"It's Tom Hardy. He's a ringer, but we don't know for sure, why."

"No kidding? How do we know for sure?"

"Got a call from Marty outlining the entire situation. Seems the real Tom never made it to Africa, and has spent quality time being drugged and interrogated. Then, his not-quite-dead body was buried in a shallow grave. He woke up, got out and we found him."

"Damn!" Jason muttered. "And he's been in on the Cassidine caper for weeks. I wonder if that's the connection?"

"He sure made it easy for us to follow him to where Spencer was. Guy all but issued engraved invitations."

"Fortunately, Luke doesn't trust him anymore, but more because he figures that he isn't swift enough to be involved in a plan."

"Something tells me that this guy is smarter than he appears."

"No kidding. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you to watch your back and what you say when Tom is around. He isn't what he appears to be, and we don't know yet what he really is. Any news about Laura?"

"None. I don't think that this is a scam this time, though I don't know where she is."

"We'll find her," Taggert promised. "Look, I've got to go now, but if you need to talk with me, you know the drill. Just watch your back kid. Oh, and give my regards to Lila next time you see her."

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