"Perhaps you'd care to explain that to me?" Faison asked, his eyes glittering with curiosity.
"About Laura?" Helena chuckled. "Surely you don't think that I ever intended for her to return to her previous life?"
"Of course not. I merely wondered what you had in mind for her."
"Later, my friend. Right now, we have to greet your young guest."
At that moment, P.J. Castles was ushered into the room, where, in disgust, he distanced himself from the men who had escorted him. Warily, he looked at Helena and Faison, who smiled at him. "Good evening," Helena greeted. "Welcome to your new home."
"No thanks," P.J. answered. "I prefer San Francisco."
"That isn't a option," Faison told him, pointedly. "You belong to us now-until your father chooses to ransom you."
P.J. stood sullenly, his mind quickly processing the situation, and reviewing his options, unhappy with what he could see. He said nothing, unwilling to cooperate with his captors, who appeared to be a pair of middle aged Europeans with a pretty little girl. Who were they? He wondered, and what did they want with his father?
As if reading P.J.'s mind, Faison continued, "He has something we want, and you'll be instrumental in securing your father's cooperation."
"Dad isn't going to like this."
Faison chuckled, and Helena smiled. "Yes, your father will wish for you safe return-and for your continued well being. I know of a son's importance to his father, and to the lengths he might go to protect both his son, and his legacy. Your father will cooperate with us." She motioned to the men who had brought him. "Take him to the room that has been prepared for him." She told P.J. "Unless you would prefer to be bound and drugged, I'd suggest that you do as you're told."
"Well done, Ned," Lila praised as her grandson finished briefing her. "Though it is a shame that Sonny chose the wrong path. I did so hope that he would see the error of his ways. He was charming, but then, I've known a variety of charming rogues in my life."
"Grandmother, he'd have killed Jason if you hadn't made alternate arrangements." Ned's eyes sparkled curiously. "How did you know? Did you know about Jason all this time?
Lila nodded. "I've known since the beginning, since he had the accident that night. I'm sorry that you had to suffer so much because of this, but it seemed like the thing to do at the time. When Marty explained to me the need for someone to do what he ultimately did, someone with unquestioned loyalty, what could I say? One does what one must."
"How did you meet her?" Ned asked. "Is she from your days with Intrepid?"
"I knew her mother," Lila laughed. "She's ---oh, hello, Edward. Care to join us?"
"Lila," Edward began, his eyes troubled. "I've just gotten some bad news from PCPD."
"Sit down, my love," Lila smiled. "I know all about it-but you must keep silent on what I'm about to tell you."
"We've got a problem," Jared told Marty as he hung up the phone. "P.J. Castles is missing, and he's not the runaway sort of kid. He's a straight arrow-all A's and like that. Not the sort of kid to pull anything."
"Then we have to assume that he's been kidnapped by Faison and his crew," Marty reasoned. "Which means that for the moment, they've bought your death, or didn't know that Chrissie is your child. And, we can also assume that Matthews is no longer employed by them. Peter Castles will be brought into this soon. We have to arrange a tap on his phone lines-even his cellular. Faison won't wait long to get control of Castles-which means that the kidnapping will have to be described as a visit to a relative, or something like that. They won't want the police involved. Too dangerous."
"Suzi must be scared to death," Jared said. "I wish that I could talk to her."
"Jared, what could you tell her that would ease her mind? That we believe her son has been kidnapped by the same people who tried to kill you, people who have no regard for any lives but their own? That he's to be used as a pawn to control his father?" Marty shook her head. "Too risky for you at present, and of no real benefit to her."
"Maybe Chrissie will tell her parents that they're not alone in this?"
"Maybe," Marty answered. "But there are risks inherent in her knowledge. This might spur her into telling her parents what she knows, and that could jeopardize our situation."
"She might," Jared conceded, "but something tells me that she's going to keep quiet unless she thinks that it's essential that they know."
"She's a lovely young woman," Marty told him. "And quick thinking. Like her father."
Jared smiled at Marty. "You know, in spite of my best efforts, I've got two wonderful kids. A man doesn't deserve much more than that in his life." He gave her a smile that made her remember just why they had a son. She smiled back. Yes, in spite of everything that was wrong at the moment, some things were very right.
Alexis stared back at Stefan, disbelief in her eyes. "You did what? Have you completely lost your mind? You've agreed to cooperate with Luke Spencer?"
Stefan avoided his cousin's eyes, and stared at his computer screen, instead. "Yes, Alexis, you heard right. I hope that you will understand that I have done what I think right to insure that we will remain on course, on time, towards our goal."
Alexis relaxed visibly. "Did you share that with him, as well?"
"Of course not. But you know, as well as I do that Helena is involved in whatever is going on, and that she will, by her grasping and greed, destroy all that we ve worked for. My sources tell me that Sonny Corinthos, Jason Morgan, and Robin Scorpio were killed tonight in some small upstate warehouse, and while the blame is being placed on out of town mobsters, I would be willing to wger that Helena has had something to do with it."
Alexis nodded. "If she thought that Corinthos was less than cooperative, or unnecessary to her plan, she'd eliminate him quickly. I wonder if her other cohorts are as aware of her black widow tendencies?"
Stefan shrugged. "Anyone foolish enough to sup with the devil must either be a greater one or suffer the consequences. Believe it or not, Alexis, there are greater devils on this earth than Helena."
Alexis smiled, her fingers moving to grasp the Cassadine medal that she wore around her neck. "Yes, Stefan, I know. I also know that to defeat one such as Helena, one must be willing to match her move for move, and strike preemptively. One must use whatever weapons one has."
Stefan looked up at his cousin, seeing something disturbing in her eyes. "Alexis, is there something that you are not telling me?"
Alexis gave another one of her haunting smiles. "Stefan, I've never told you everything."
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